• July 5, 2021
  • 4 min read

In other words; has the time arrived for the Maximum Valuable Product to take the reins from the Minimum Viable Product paradigm?

Minimum Viable Product

A Minimum Viable Product is an agile product design and planning concept coming from Lean Start-up methodology. Aiming towards early market entry, a Minimum Viable Product is a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early adopters, while allowing teams collect early feedback for the validation of the concept and product offerings.
What does this mean? Imagine a simple recipe application. The minimum viable product version is expected to only include a large database of recipes with some filters and search functionalities. The users of the app get exactly what they anticipate, nothing more nothing less.

However, as the times goes by, the app is enhanced with additional features, like measurement converters to easily adapt ingredient measurements or an interactive comments section under each recipe. Why not also add the ‘favorites’ button, as proposed by some users that wanted to easily find again the recipe that made a huge success in last week’s dinner. These extra features are not necessary for finding and executing a recipe, however they complete the overall experience and make it a lot more attractive.

Why Minimum?

The Minimum Viable Product is an approach that can save teams from development time and effort and minimize the chances of drastic product redesign at the end of product development to meet the actual user needs. The early involvement of end-users, reveals the needs and opportunities for improvement that would have come unnoticed if the team followed a siloed, waterfall-like mentality.

Why not Minimum?

Even though a minimum viable product keeps things simple, it still has to deliver value. An oversimplified minimum viable product can lead to getting to the market with an offering that lacks true value or a competitive advantage. And unfortunately, this is a pitfall common among software projects and start-ups.

Figure 1: Delivering value with every release. Source: Henrik Kniberg.

Maximum Valuable Product

The Maximum Valuable Product proposes a shift in the prevailing MVP mentality, serving as an alternative product and at the same time product development technique. Here the target is delivering maximum value to the users, given any constraints placed upon it. This definition implies two things: you have to find what the users want and you need to find the factors that impose limitations to developing the product to match these needs.

Identifying user needs

Before starting to design a Maximum Valuable Product, you should first uncover the problem that needs to be solved; this is where true value lies. Some questions about the target audience, the problem itself (complexity, importance), existing solutions and their drawbacks, can highlight whether there is room for a new entry in the market or there should be a complete change of plans. Users play a key role in this process and should be in the loop even from the baby steps of a new product, providing valuable insights and feedback.

Identifying Constraints

The Maximum Valuable Product aims to deliver the highest possible value, within budget, in reasonable time and staying within the project’s scope. These are only three of the possible constraints, and as they are by default dynamic, the Maximum Valuable Product is a perfect match for agile teams, that are driven by the short-termed iterative development cycles, i.e. sprints.

The Approach of PUZZLE

In PUZZLE we have chosen to follow the Most Valuable Product methodology.

Having a clear vision of the PUZZLE value propositions from the beginning of the project (i.e., network security management and orchestration of security functions-as-a service, distributed attestation enablers, risk assessment and management and use of distributed ledger technologies for enhanced, reliable and secure knowledge extraction and data sharing), the PUZZLE MVP acts as a process and a tool for the validation of the envisioned functionalities, the prioritisation and the smooth planning of the development activities.

Figure 2: The PUZZLE Most Valuable Product definition process

The process of developing the PUZZLE MVP starts from the PUZZLE vision. The PUZZLE demonstrators act as the pilot users of the PUZZLE SecaaS Marketplace that validate the overall idea and the value of the envisioned functionalities. These two sources were fed into requirements engineering methodologies, such as use case analysis, user stories elicitation and feature engineering, and led to the consolidation of the PUZZLE Most Valuable Product.

We, in PUZZLE are excited for the next steps in the design, development and validation of the individual components and the overall framework based on this meticulously designed MVP that will be soon also openly available through our deliverable D1.2!

Featured Photo by İrfan Simsar on Unsplash.