MVP – Really going from bike to car?

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is defined on Wikipedia as follows: “In product development, the minimum viable product is the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. ” In short, it is a (often first) product with all fundamental features, from which to elaborate, and which can grow into a full product through a process of testing and updating, trying to keep the features to what is fundamental to the product and user needs/expectations.

On twitter, every now and then the following image passes by (for example in this tweetby user testing), but I think it only partly correct. Even if the explanation of the image is spot on, the image itself maybe misleading for those with little or no experience in user centred development.

In my opinion, developing a MVP means developing a sequence of prototypes through which you explore what is key for your product idea and what can be omitted. This means that if you are planning to develop a personal transporter like a car, the very first item you develop will be a personal transporter like a car, but stripped down to what you think at the time of developing the prototype is the bare minimum. Testing and sounding may result into a new prototype etc until you have your product which you feel is minimally viable.

Nowhere in developing a personal transporter like a car, you end up developing a full motorcycle, and I seriously doubt that the starting point will be a skate-board or a children’s scooter, as shown below.