The art of scoping an MVP

Image by Markus Spiske

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product has been popularized to the point that the phrase is used without even thinking about it. Perhaps you even hear and use it so often that you have to pause for a moment to even remember what “MVP” stands for.

“Let’s just get this to MVP, and take care of the rest of this later,” says the engineer, tired of having the project drag on for sprint after sprint with no shippable product in sight.

“What is the MVP for this project?” asks the executive, who doesn’t understand a complicated feature proposed for their biggest piece of software.

“Which features are considered part of the MVP, and which will we do later?” the product manager wants to know, as she builds user stories for the backlog.

All 3 of these people are talking about the same concept, but it means different things to each of them.  And that’s OK! The MVP must be defined precisely enough to be well understood by everybody on the team, even though it will impact them all differently.

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