I meet a lot of teams who say they’re building an MVP. Dig a little deeper and you quickly realize that they already have a plan in place on how to deliver on not just the MVP, but also the subsequent product roadmap. They usually want prospects to verify what they’re thinking is right, instead of wanting to verify if their idea has appeal amongst prospects.

It’s cool to call an early prototype or first version of the product as MVP. But having elaborate feature specs in place even before market validation causes more harm than good.

MVP is part of the discovery process and is not part of the delivery. MVPs should be used to test hypothesis quickly with early majority clients, and are by nature experimental. By tacking on a delivery timeline, firms lose flexibility during this process. It’s not easy to throw away an MVP that’s not working if you’ve already committed resources to building it.

MVPs should be built to test big hypothesis before you get into Agile & other delivery processes. This should be budgeted for as it helps avoid costly mistakes. Opportunity costs of making changes are lowest at the idea stage, and grow exponentially as the concept/product develops.