In the dynamic realm of software development and product management, maintaining a competitive edge is an incredible challenge. To thrive in this landscape, companies must swiftly deliver value to their customers while remaining adaptable to the ever-evolving market requirements. This is precisely where the concept of Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs) emerges.
Minimum Marketable Features serve as a strategic approach to product development, emphasising the delivery of the most vital and valuable features to the market within the shortest possible timeframe. By breaking down a product’s functionality into smaller, self-contained units, MMFs empower businesses to expedite product launches, validate assumptions, and iterate based on invaluable user feedback.
What is a Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)?
A Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) represents a compact and self-contained functionality that can be swiftly developed, offering significant value to the end-user. Although the full term may not be widely utilised in practice, the concept seamlessly aligns with the core principle of the Agile Manifesto: prioritising customer satisfaction through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software. This concept reinforces the notion that software releases, even when frequent, should introduce enhancements that enable customers to accomplish tasks previously unattainable. You can learn more about the agile manifesto here.
The term “marketable” aptly captures the essence of features that bring value to customers. As value can be defined in various ways, such as revenue growth, cost reduction, or risk avoidance, the MMF concept finds relevance in both external products intended for sale outside the organisation and internal products employed to support the delivery of the organisation’s products and services.
Minimum Marketable Product or Minimum Releasable Feature
Within the agile community, there have been various proposals for alternative terms to MMF, some of which inadvertently modify the original intended meaning of the concept. Examples include Minimum Marketable Product and Minimum Releasable Feature. It is important to clarify the distinction between MMF and MVP, as they are not interchangeable.
MMF specifically revolves around delivering value to customers, ensuring that each feature brings tangible benefits. On the other hand, MVP focuses on learning more about the ultimate product and its viability. An MVP can span a wide spectrum, ranging from lacking any MMFs to encompassing a single MMF or multiple MMFs. While both MMF and MVP emphasise the pursuit of minimal functionality, their core objectives differ.
By understanding these nuances, we reinforce the notion that seeking the minimum necessary functionality is vital in accomplishing specific outcomes, regardless of whether we are working with MMFs or MVPs.
What’s The Difference Between a Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) and a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
Based on the preceding information, it is evident that the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) primarily centres around learning, whereas the Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) places its emphasis on delivering value to the user.
It is important to note that an MVP may or may not include an MMF, and it has the potential to incorporate multiple MMFs within its scope. The choice between these concepts depends on your specific context and requirements.
What are the Benefits of Delivering Minimum Marketable Features?
MMFs serve as the ideal unit for planning releases, as they enable a strategic approach to product development. As articulated by James Shore in his article on phased releases, identifying the minimum marketable features of your product and prioritising their release allows you to simultaneously earn and learn, which is especially important if you’re bootstrapping your startup. By delivering the first feature and gathering feedback, you can gather valuable insights while progressing with subsequent features.
Depending on the scale of these features, it may be beneficial to divide them into smaller user stories for efficient delivery and feedback collection. This approach can be effectively implemented through timeboxed iterations, allowing for iterative development and continuous refinement.
What Are The Problems When Creating Minimum Marketable Features?
There are 3 main issues that can arise from creating a Minimum Marketable Feature, namely:
- Mistaking an MMF for MVP: It is common for teams to mistakenly equate an MMF with a minimum viable product (MVP). While this may not pose immediate harm, it can become problematic if the team becomes solely focused on delivering a product without considering whether it truly satisfies the customers’ needs.
- Creating a Poor Quality Product: Teams sometimes overemphasise the “minimum” aspect of MMF while overlooking the crucial “marketable” element. This oversight results in a product of insufficient quality, limiting its potential to generate optimal returns that could have been achieved by building the product with the appropriate level of quality.
- Not Iterating: In some cases, teams deliver what they perceive to be an MMF but fail to make any further improvements or changes to the product, disregarding valuable feedback and additional needs that the product could address. It is essential to strike a balance between delivering a minimum viable product and continually iterating based on customer feedback to ensure sustained customer satisfaction and product success.
If your team is struggling to come up with a great minimum product, it might be time to shift gears to looking at developing a Minimum Lovable Product.
Minimum Marketable Feature Example
Once an initial product with a strong foundation of core features is released, it often undergoes a progressive integration of new functionalities. A prominent illustration of this phenomenon can be observed in the operating systems of cell phones and computers.
Upon unboxing a smartphone, users can immediately utilise its essential functionalities. However, as they continue to use the device, they will notice regular updates introducing additional features. These updates contribute value to the product, even though they were not essential from the outset. Consequently, these value-added features can be incorporated incrementally, enhancing the product over time.
The adoption of Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs) presents a transformative approach to product development, empowering businesses to swiftly and effectively deliver value. By prioritising essential features, breaking them down into manageable units, and leveraging user feedback, companies can iterate and enhance their products at an accelerated pace.
Embracing MMFs not only streamlines the development process but also amplifies customer satisfaction while mitigating the risk of building unnecessary features. As technology evolves and market dynamics shift, the concept of MMFs remains an influential tool in maintaining competitiveness and meeting customer demands. So, embrace the power of MMFs and embark on a journey of focused product development that drives innovation, efficiency, and customer success.
If you’re looking for alternative ways to develop your proof of concept, have a look at the following guides: