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  6.3. The Minimum Feature Set (5 min.)

The Minimum Feature Set (MFS), also popularly know as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), is the minimum number of features (i.e., minimal amount of product) that will allow entrepreneurs to learn whether their solution is acceptable to customers. Remember, we don't want to follow the traditional product development model and spend months and thousands of dollars building something we aren't sure of yet. Instead, we want to keep it cheap and simple. Identifying the Minimum Feature Set will allow us to focus just on those features that will deliver our proposed solution and provide the most value to customers.

Bulls eye.png

One challenge with the Minimum Feature Set approach is that entrepreneurs can sometimes get lost in developing features customers simply like, but which ultimately do not actually drive the purchase. In contrast, the Minimum Feature Set represents the smallest, most focused set of features that will drive a customer purchase. Think of the Minimum Feature Set as the bull’s-eye in a target - each concentric ring represents the features customers would like to have, but the bull’s-eye represents the features customers must have in order to purchase the product.

Developing the Minimum Feature Set will:

  • Allow you to get to the market faster to get feedback on the product (a chess novice can defeat a master if moving twice each round)
  • Increase your ability to change quickly because there are fewer features and it costs relatively less money
  • Help you discover the real core of what customers need in a solution
  • Appeal to customers’ desire for simplicity

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 95-97)