Last night I was leafing through Twitter and came across a tweet referencing the ‘great new thing’ the Exceptional Viable Product. Now stop me if you’ve heard this before but the general idea is to make sure your product is really good so it lands with a bump and gets picked up by lots of users quickly. AKA what everyone was doing pre-Minimum Viable Product and what you pretty much still need to do if you’re shipping anything like a boxed product. My initial reaction was to laugh and generate a big long thread on a friends Facebook wall. A buzzwordy and seemingly history ignorant ‘new invention’ is too good to pass up.
However MVPs, EVPs and other constructions of their ilk are really talking around the problem at hand. What should you release into the market and when? In this respect the re-invention of a pretty basic wheel in fancy start-up speak might suggest a bit of a sea change in the market as it approaches saturation with new ideas or consumers get less and less happy to switch to a new, buggy and feature incomplete product. Have start-ups worn out good-will?
Re-focusing things in terms of videogames and we can see some consumer dissatisfaction with similar ideas like Early Access. Games released in a relatively feature incomplete state have failed to engage players and then due to the funding model being reliant on new sales have failed to earn their keep. Ultimately this leads to general consumer weariness with the very idea of funding games ‘in development’. Double Fine are a great example at the reputation hit this sort of problem can cause.
Ultimately you want to ignore buzzwords and focus on the problem. What is the market situation I’m releasing into? How do I release with the best chance of success in that market? The answer to that is very situation dependent and exists on more of a continuum than most blogging would let you think. Think don’t just be taken in by the latest buzzword fad.