The Art of Building Just Enough Software

The term MVP seems to be getting a lot of bad rep lately. But, what makes it so inherently ‘bad?’ MVPs are great for software teams because they let them obtain valuable information about their customers in a short amount of time. So, what exactly is an MVP? I know you have probably heard this term used many times before, and if you’re unfamiliar with it, allow me to break it down for you. 

An MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, provides a team with the opportunity to test their assumptions about their product, especially when it comes to the willingness of their potential customers to pay money for it. In other words, it can be viewed as an untested version of a product (software) that is yet to be fully released, and allows the team to collect as much ‘confirmed’ information about their customers as possible with the least amount of effort. The point of an MVP is to serve as a starting point because it gives you the data to decide whether it’s possible to fully commit to a project. 

Honoring the MVP: Minimally Visible Software 

There is now a better approach to building and validating new software. But don’t go writing off MVP from your vocabulary just yet! The concept may be a bit broken, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed. Simply put, an MVP contains the minimum core features of the software to be ready for launch. Instead of the focus being on non-essential features of the software such as aesthetics and usability, the focus is placed on functionality. A minimal market test serves as one of your most important tools of software creation. Instead of using your MVPs

as prototypes, treat the MVP as a learning tool, and once you’ve obtained what you need, throw it out! Remember, never allow customers to get their hands on it! It’s just as important to give as much consideration to the customer’s experience while honoring the useful attributes of MVPs. 

Key Characteristics: 

  • Build something small, because small things are predictable and inexpensive to test.
  • Get it into the market quickly, so that information can be obtained quickly.
  • Discard the MVP if it fails, or invest if it’s bursting with potential. 

SLC: Simple, Lovable & Complete 

It’s time to talk about an emerging concept: SLC. So, what is SLC? The idea is to build software that is simple, lovable, and complete. The most important concept of SLC is customer satisfaction. A piece of software serves very little purpose if it does not make the customer happy, therefore if it is not useful, get rid of it! 

Key Characteristics of SLC: 

Simple: The product must be small and delivered quickly. 

Lovable: People must want to use the product. 

Complete: People must want to use the product as-is. 

An SLC software lets you improve your outcomes and options for the next steps. Remember, if the software fails, that’s alright, chalk it up as a failed experiment and move on.

MVPs and SLCs almost always yield the same results, however, it is important to continue experimenting. The best part is, if an SLC succeeds, you have already delivered business value with multiple features available. This is the true art of building just enough software!