The most common strategy to define new features is the linear approach, which consists of gathering user requirements, designing and building a solution that aims to fulfill them and then delivering to users once it’s done. The problem is that this means you are not delivering value until the full solution is finished, nor getting user feedback, thus creating situations where large efforts can be spent building a solution that was based on a flawed idea. This can be partially mitigated via demos or MVPs, but it’s hard to know if users will find value in your product until they are using day-to-day trying to achieve their own goals.
This is where the concept of a Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) comes in. MMF is a strategy that emphasizes delivering the minimum functionality that can be provided to users as a standalone feature, instead of aiming for a complete and exhaustive solution to all their needs. Doing this will not exempt you from the risk of the initial idea being flawed, but it allows you to capture feedback early and respond quickly to user demands, validating (or invalidating) assumptions and ensuring that value is often and constantly delivered to the users*.
Let’s say you are building a fitness mobile app. After gathering requirements and doing market analysis, you determine that users want an application that gives them the following:
With MMF, you make the determination that the minimum marketable feature includes personalized workout plans and tracking of daily activity. By delivering these core features, you begin to get early adopters who start tracking their progress on the app. As a consequence of people using the app, you also begin to receive feedback and user data, which you can use to shape future iterations of the application.
MMF is not the only factor to determine if the app succeeds, but it gives you the flexibility to make informed decisions early and constantly.
In order for a product to succeed and become useful for its intended audience, there’s a lot of things that have to go right, be it styling, software or hardware design, costs, user/market status and even external factors, so it is our responsibility to get information as early as possible to optimize efforts and gain a competitive advantage.
Adopting the Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) approach can significantly enhance your ability to deliver value to users and drive business success, especially in cases where you are looking to validate assumptions and ensure that users will ultimately find value in the product that is being built.
By Jorge Orenday.