The MVP is dead. Long live the RAT.

“There is a flaw at the heart of the term Minimum Viable Product: it’s not a product. It’s a way of testing whether you’ve found a problem worth solving. A way to reduce risk and quickly test your biggest assumption. Instead of building an MVP identify your Riskiest Assumption and Test it.”

MVP is one of those phrases that seems to have about a million different interpretations, depending on who you ask. Riskiest Assumption Tests make the purpose of the thing (prototype, other artefact) explicit. “We are building this thing to test our most risky assumption, then we’ll move onto the next”.

The trouble I’ve observed with MVPs in different workplaces is:

  • it’s hard to actually define – what is minimum really? and,
  • how do you actually coordinate all the thinking required from different disciplines to build a product without burning a bunch of time and including things that are not minimum.

The MVP has always been a fairly difficult concept to understand, even though it appears simple before you think it through.

The RAT is definitely worth considering.


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