Minimum Viable Feedback

The term MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a common term in product management and organizations. What if instead of MVP, the focus was on MVF (Minimum Viable Feedback)?

Roman Pichler states, “The minimum viable product (MVP), as originally defined by Eric Ries, is a learning vehicle. It allows you to test an idea by exposing an early version of your product to the target users and customers, to collect the relevant data, and to learn from it. “

Mike Cohn in discussing product owners and the importance of identifying a significant quarterly goal states, “For a new product, it could be creating a minimum viable product (MVP). For an existing product, it might be adding a minimum marketable feature (MMF). Some organizations will refer to it as a wildly important goal (WIG).”

Both of these imply the ability to make a product decision and path forward based off of feedback in a timely manner and embrace agility. Based on this, what if we thought of product delivery in terms of Minimum Viable Feedback (MVF)? With this in mind, the approach is similar to one of my previous blogs on using the scientific method approach in product development to establish what it is that I need to do and test to get MVF to move forward.

In other words, one doesn’t need to necessarily focus on a feature or a product in terms of a holistic item when getting feedback. Instead, focus on what feedback one needs, whether qualitative or quantitative, to make a product decision and move forward.

Even with, “working software is the primary measure of progress,” an Agile Principle, there are most likely a lot of conversations that occur between developers and business people during the delivery time of shipping the software. This is where I believe there are opportunities to make better informed decisions and improve customer collaboration to maximize product value.

This could include:

  • Creating a mock-up of the product or feature for customers to try
  • A basic prototype for customers to try
  • A whiteboard session with the customers and product development team to brainstorm ideas to solve the problem(s)
  • A customer survey
  • Shadow and observe customers on the job
  • Do the customer’s job if possible using the software, etc. and build empathy and understanding for the current problems and opportunities

All of the above examples are ideally simple and provide quick feedback with an agile and lean approach.

What are your thoughts on MVF? What approaches have you used in product development for timely customer feedback?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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