Is MVP Enough?

Why minimum viable products are no longer enough

A professional test pilot in an experimental aircraft doesn’t need a cozy place to sit, whereas a passenger on a commercial jet will expect a pillow and a soda—preferably the whole can. To make this point clearer in an MVP-ridden world of computational products that are missing creature comforts, I like to use the term “MVLP,” where the “L” stands for “lovable.”

I kinda like this idea and have been inadvertently doing something like this more and more in my role as a product designer.

As an example, my company is currently working on a replacement to an old, ugly product that has been around for a decade. There are many things we need to do to make this a better product, but this thing was built over ten years ago and looks like it; our customers have told us they don’t liketo use it since it’s customer-facing and looks old.

We have a list of functions this initial release must have, but all along the way, one of the more abstract requirements we look at at all times is whether this new experience is satisfying as fuck. Any new feature we add needs to look good and be a joy to use. If they’re using something that is a pain to use and the look and feel feels ancient, the new thing should blow them away in terms of user experience and design.

The feature set matters too, and we’ve done our best to pick the most important things to hit first, but a lot of those gaps will be forgiven if they overall experience we deliver is a delight (and if not forgiven, at least they will ask for them to be added soon rather than yell for them to be added now.