Frank Robinson, who originally coined the phrase, emphasised the MVP only within the context of the journey of his packaged process (SyncDev); it was an outcome of the entire process, which engaged with customers and users from the beginning. His was a process of continually 'Test Selling Validation Prototypes' all the way to the outcome of his entire engagement.
"Due to the misconception of this term, I have stopped using MVP altogether. Instead, I talk more about solution experimentation. These experiments are designed to help companies learn faster. Here we are experimenting to learn, not building to earn." - Escaping the Build Trap
Constant experimentation en route to the MVP will result in more useful software because shipping code will always incur a cost you are going to be lumbered paying for, it may as well be worth paying for, which you will not know unless you've been ideating and measuring all the way to the destination. I'm not advocating stopping using the term MVP as it's useful for cross-functionally sharing the agile mindset. In recent years I've preferred the term Minimum Viable Prototype, which I think I got from Accelerate. However, perhaps even then, it's still too milestone related and removed from a discovery process to be helpful. I think now, I will throw my hat into Minimum Viable Progress because it speaks more to a process than crowning achievement. In the context of progress, MVP becomes a suitable classifier for bounds-checking our next deliveries.
Join me to discuss the concept of MVP at the Product Junto on Thursday 16th March, 2023 at 6:30 PM It's a free event, we'll be meeting at the Barbican centre in London. I look forward to discussing.