Story Mapping is a great way to identify your MVP (Minimum Viable Product). The following process is typically followed:

  • Features are arranged horizontally based on workflow.
  • Features arranged vertically based on necessity/sophistication.
  • Judicious horizontal swim-lanes to group features into releases.
  • Guided by Product goals, MVP.

Benefit:
  • Arranges user stories into a useful readable model.
  • Identify holes and omissions in your backlog.
  • Help set priorities & plan holistic releases.
  • Like a geo map, the specific location of a story gives you rich context.

 

Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development. Gathering insights from an MVP is often less expensive than developing a product with more features, which increase costs and risk if the product fails, for example, due to incorrect assumptions. The term was coined and defined by Frank Robinson in 2001.

A minimum viable product has just those core features sufficient to deploy the product, and no more. Developers typically deploy the product to a subset of possible customers—such as early adopters thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. This strategy targets avoiding building products that customers do not want and seeks to maximize information about the customer per dollar spent. The minimum viable product is that version of a new product a team uses to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort. The definition's use of the words maximum and minimum means it is decidedly not formulaic. It requires judgement to figure out, for any given context, what MVP makes sense.

An MVP can be part of a strategy and process directed toward making and selling a product to customers. It is a core artifact in an iterative process of idea generation, prototyping, presentation, data collection, analysis and learning. One seeks to minimize the total time spent on an iteration. The process is iterated until a desirable product/market fit is obtained, or until the product is deemed non-viable. Steve Blank typically refers to minimum viable product as minimum feature set.

It is important that there is collective feedback when deciding the MVP. Feedback should come from business stakeholders, leads, architects, leadership, and product. Key business stakeholders should also be identified for each feature since some stakeholders have more influence than others in certain situations. Technical input is helpful to understand the complexity and if it justifies the value gained.