MVP vs MLP
Recently I have started working with a client who uses the MLP principle for their product management.
I have always worked on the MVP style and never thought of challenging it. But now that I have been introduced to this way of thinking (I am not calling it new because MLP could be around for some time and I only now I have heard of it 🙄)
MVP: The idea is to come up with a minimum set of features/functionalities in a product with which you can take it into the market and get instant feedback aka to fail-fast and build upon it.
MLP: Here the idea is to focus on what your end-user will love. So, you set out to build a product with the least possible number of features, yet lovable by your users/customers. Hence, it's not essentially the fail-fast approach, but the opposite of it where you get them to like your product as soon as it hits the market.
I am still going through the adoption & understanding of MLP, but my take is that it is a lot better than MVP in most cases (I say most because there are some cases where MVP works better, please read on…)
MLP focuses on customers first and to me, that is a winner from the get-go. How many times have we used products which are half-baked and leave us frustrated?
Because the focus is customer, focus on customer research is done beforehand. Unlike in MVP, we expect customers to tell us on product launch what they don't like or what they expect from it.
I come from a software background, and I think having MLP in place forces us to think about the architecture well in advance. We know our customer needs and challenges are and we can plan our architecture accordingly.
However, I do see why MLP is not for everyone. First of all, it's expensive to do in-depth market research. The other issue is what if you are building a brand new product with a very little know consumer base? In this case, trialing an MVP based on some business analysis makes sense.