I was researching the topic of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for one of our clients these days when I found a seemingly very popular chart that illustrates what an MVP is and how it develops.
This chart shows how a misconception goes viral as it depicts everything else but not how you build and develop a minimum viable product.
When you draw a skateboard, followed by a kick scooter, followed by a bicycle, followed by a motorbike and then end up with a car, you show how an idea develops, not how an MVP is being built or what the actual concept of MVP is.
Each of these creations is an MVP, really. The only minimum property these products have in common are wheels and a method to control your movement direction. A skateboard user does not need an engine to move, nor he/she needs a steering wheel. The engine and the steering wheel are components of an MVP named "automobile", they do not belong to an MVP called "skateboard".
The wheel was invented somewhere around 3,500 BC. and it took about 5,300 years for the average consumer to have an automobile. The skateboard in the above chart is actually an MVP of an ancient cart powered by horses or whatever draught animals power your cart. It is actually even a simpler MVP, as the idea of outside power to drive the cart is not present in a skateboard although we all know that we need force to be applied to make it move.
The goal of the above rhetoric is to make it clear that numerous "business consultants", "startup advisers" and "business development experts" do not get the very idea of what a minimum viable product is and why.
The two words that matter in this context are "minimum" and "viable". If you need an MVP for a tool to move from location A to location B using wheels and outside power/force, then a skateboard can be accepted as an MVP that meets your basic requirements.
You, however, need many more MVPs to reach the stage of a vehicle that resembles a car and acts as such. For example, you need no roof for roaming around with your skateboard. I'm sure you get the idea, which is that the above chart shows how an idea develops, not how an MVP develops.
So, what's the conclusion and the purpose of this short text?
The purpose is to show you how easily a misguiding and false explanation of an otherwise good concept can go viral and be cited and re-created by numerous users online.
The conclusion is that our online universe is full of "experts" who do not even think what they are talking about. Which is sad, of course.
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