Minimum Viable Product (Thu Sep 14, lecture 5)

Homework due for today

  1. Read: “Lean Startup Chapter 6”. Think about the following warmup questions as you read the chapter:
    • Sometimes customers get a product that’s imperfect, incomplete. When might this happen? . Is that a good or bad thing? What’s the purpose for doing this?
    • It’s been said (by me among others) that an MVP is neither minimum, viable nor a product. Can you explain why that might be a valid statement, or not?
    • What 1 or 2 important things from the reading did you not understand? And if you understood it all, then what 1 or 2 important things were most insightful/useful/valuable to you. Please make sure I can tell which is which!
    • Deliverable: Submit your responses to the warmup questions as a pdf in Latte
  2. Each Pilot team (all members) meet outside of class for at least 1 hour again, outside class. Continue working on your Pilot Project Report. Discuss and capture hypotheses for your version of the product. In addition to a hypothesis, consider how you could test it. Team Deliverable: Continue revising your draft Pilot Project Report
  3. Term Project: Select from brainstorming so far, or from your own discussions, at least one project that you MIGHT want to propose and submit a description to the List of Term Project Ideas Deliverable: Submit your idea and add it to the list. Read through all the others, and post a couple of questions, comments and +1’s.

Interesting (optional) reading

  • The term MVP was defined (for this specific context) several years ago by Eric Ries. It has always been a bit of a problem because people starting “misusing” it, to mean, “beta” or “early release”. Another book i really like has their own refinement of the term: What’s an MVP?
  • This MVP Guide has a good video if you want to review things from a different angle. It’s by Eric Ries himself.


  • Discussion of Chapter 6, what’s an MVP, why do we need one.

Some tips about choosing a successful Product

  • Be hard-nosed! Don’t go for what looks fun and cool ONLY
  • Challenge yourself and your teammates
  • Do a little research using your common sense!
  • Can you find other similar products, competitors, or related products, and is this a good or bad thing?
  • Look in Kickstarter and RocketHub. Are there any related projects?
  • Do you believe that you could actually get enough funding through Kickstarter or RocketHub to build a prototype?
  • What would the Sharktank say of it?
  • How big a real problem is this really solving?
  • For who, and do you think those people would be willing to pay for it?
  • How would you get it to them?
  • What kind of price do you think they would be willing to pay?
  • Are you pretty sure this can be productized (that is, not can we make a single one by hand, but can we make a lot of them?)

Term Projects Brainstorm

In week 5 we will begin working on the term projects. Between now and then we will be coming up with ideas, writing them up, etc.

right now Second round of brainstorming on possible term projects. Collect them on whiteboard and write them down.
  • Review and reference: Hypotheses
  • Review and reference: Minimum Viable Product
  • Lets discuss your hypotheses, experiments, discuss MVPs. Teams, what will you do between now and next class to get out of the building? What are some quick ways to get quick feedback?” %>
  • Let’s list MVPs for The Pilot Project
  • Let’s talk over students’ ideas so far for term products.

Next Class