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March 04, 2016

MVP vs. MMF – What’s the Difference?

3 mins read

In our last post we looked at the true Agile value proposition in terms of early delivery of business value, reduced risk, increase visibility and increased adaptability. These are achieved by continuously delivering customer valued functionality by building MVP (minimal viable products) and MMF (minimal marketable features).

The terms MVP or MMF are often used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing and if not so what is the difference?

One might argue the MVP is about products and MMF is about features but that would put the emphasis on the wrong word. You can think of MMF as MMPs (minimal marketable product) to avoid that confusion. The real difference between the two is viable vs. marketable.

Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

In Lean Startup, Eric Reiss defines MVP as:

“The Minimal Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

In other words, the MVP is about validated learning using the least amount of time and money. It is about answering the question: Are we building the right thing? It is targeted at early adopters or a subset of customers with the main goal of obtaining feedback on the potential viability of the product hypothesis. The MVP might not be a product at all. It can be a simple prototype as long as it helps acquire the relevant knowledge or raises key risks.

An example of an MVP is ad campaigns to products that do not exist yet. The campaigns simply directs potential customers to landing pages with info about the product. Metrics track interest of potential customers in the product and which features are receiving the most attention. These metrics help validate the hypothesis around certain features.

So the MVP helps a team discover the potential MMF to build.

Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)

In Software by Numbers, Mark Denne defines MMF as:

“The Minimum Marketable Feature is the smallest unit of functionality with intrinsic market value.”

In other words, the MMF is a real feature that provides tangible value to customers. It addresses a specific need, solves a certain problem, and is of high quality and usability. It is a feature that can be marketed, sold and shipped.

An example of MMF is releasing an initial product with core features and then incrementally releasing additional features along the way as opposed to building a massive product with tons of features all at once only to later discover that over 60% of features built are never or rarely used. So the MMF is all about focusing on high-value features, reducing time to market and launching products faster to increase ROI.

In a future post, we will see how we use Lean Discovery techniques to validate the MVP and how we use Agile Delivery practices to build out MMF.

MVP vs. MMF the fourth in an 8-part series “Succeeding with Digital Service Delivery” from Excella Software Development Lead Fadi Stephan.

Part 1: What is Digital Service Delivery

Part 2Top 4 Challenges with Implementing Digital Service Delivery

Part 3: Is Agile the Answer?

Part 4: MVP vs. MMF – What’s the Difference?

Part 5: Lean Discovery Practices

Part 6: Agile Delivery Practices

Part 7: A DevOps Mindset

Part 8: 10 Essentials for Success with Digital Service Delivery


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