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The Agile value proposition is about early delivery of business value, reduced risk, increased visibility and increased adaptability. These are achieved by continuously delivering customer valued functionality by building MVP (minimal viable products) and MMF (minimal marketable features).

The terms MVP or MMF are often used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing and if not so what is the difference?

One might argue the MVP is about products and MMF is about features but that would put the emphasis on the wrong letter. You can think of MMF as MMPs (minimal marketable products) to avoid that confusion. The real difference between the two is viable vs. marketable.

Minimal Viable Product

In Lean Startup, Eric Reiss defines MVP as:

“The Minimal Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

Eric Reiss

In other words, the MVP is about validated learning using the least amount of time and money. It is about answering the question: Are we building the right thing? It is targeted at early adopters or a subset of customers with the main goal of obtaining feedback on the potential viability of the product hypothesis. The MVP might not be a product at all. It can be a simple prototype as long as it helps acquire the relevant knowledge or raises key risks.

An example of an MVP is ad campaigns to products that do not exist yet. The campaigns simply direct potential customers to landing pages with info about the product. Metrics track interest of potential customers in the product and which features are receiving the most attention. These metrics help validate the hypothesis around certain features.

So the MVP helps a team discover the potential MMF to build.

Minimum Marketable Feature

In Software by Numbers, Mark Denne defines MMF as:

“The Minimum Marketable Feature is the smallest unit of functionality with intrinsic market value.”

Mark Denne

In other words, the MMF is a real feature that provides tangible value to customers. It addresses a specific need, solves a certain problem, and is of high quality and usability. It is a feature that can be marketed, sold and shipped.

An example of MMF is releasing an initial product with core features and then incrementally releasing additional features along the way as opposed to building a massive product with tons of features all at once only to later discover that over 60% of features built are never or rarely used. So the MMF is all about focusing on high value features, reducing time to market and launching products faster to increase ROI.

Also check out the Lean Discovery, Agile Delivery, and DevOps Mindset presentation slides here as well as the entire Digital Service Delivery blog series: