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Start with less

Users very rarely ask me to remove features from a product. In fact, I’ve never had that request… ever.

This is why it’s important to show LESS in our prototypes. Whether discovering optimizations to an existing product or building a new one, we want to be guided by user expectations of what should happen next. Especially while we’re still searching for the right way to solve a problem.

A minimum viable product (MVP) can be a flow chart, a sketch on paper, or even a high fidelity or live data prototype. Each of these is a tool meant to assert a solution to a problem as a hypothesis and elicit a discussion with a targeted user.

By omitting seemingly key elements from the MVP we get to find out just how important they are to the user. Did they notice it was missing? Did they suggest something else?

We can always add features later, but after we ship it’s much harder to pull them back. Sort of like trying to put toothpaste back into a tube. So, use the minimum viable approach, start with less, and you might find a leaner, more focused product when you’re done.

Image credit: Bradley P. Johnson


Categories: Agile, Product Discovery.

© Copyright Jay Nathan, 2010-2014