Champions of the minimum lovable product have a reason to celebrate with the publication of Lovability by Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha! As Brian discusses in a recent post, Lovability celebrates the MLP mindset, in which product development teams test new products that generate customer love with the least amount of effort and expense. The MLP is an increasingly popular design approach that requires development teams to use tools such as customer personas and journey maps to embed customer empathy into product development, which results in initial concepts that are truer to the goals of the business and needs of the customer.

Brian is a longstanding proponent of the MLP, as we are at Moonshot. In his post, he credits the embrace of the MLP mindset for the success of Aha!, a software as a service for product roadmapping. He also provides advice on how businesses can foster an MLP mindset. For instance, he discusses the importance of getting curious: “Building a MLP requires a deep curiosity — you need to keep digging to understand your customers’ needs and motivations. Never guess at what they value. Instead, reach out and get the answers straight from them. Start with these questions: What do they care about? What problems do they have? What would make their lives better?”

In addition, he urges proponents of the MLP to tune out critics and to align the MLP with every aspect of the customer journey.

My take: First and foremost, I’m a big fan of the Aha! product. As someone who uses it to help our clients define and socialize the visions for their digital products and experiences, I know that the folks at Aha! are obsessed with customer centricity. Brian’s discussion and use of the MLP are important because he provides a proof point for businesses such as Moonshot that help clients adopt an MLP mindset in the digital products and experiences they provide for their customers. I recently discussed the MLP in a blog post to help businesses understand the benefits of the MLP (I happened to cite Brian’s thinking in my post). As I noted in my post, businesses can get started using the MLP by adhering to a few important steps:

  • Identify a few champions in the organization who are willing to own the idea and create a business case for the MLP. Brian is a public champion of the MLP – but you need your own inside the organization (and his ideas can certainly help your own).
  • Get an executive sponsor who will free up the resources and time to map an approach.
  • Decide on an idea to test — not a bunch of product ideas, but just one for a pilot.
  • Develop a workshop to map out the process.

Brian and Moonshot have in common an understanding of the cultural issues related to deploying concepts such as the MLP. Let’s face it: new ideas invariably create apprehension, fear, and even resentment inside organizations with ingrained ways of doing things. You don’t rally a design team around even a beneficial concept such as the MLP by pressing an ON button. It takes a strong leader, flexible team, and some internal education to obtain the cultural acceptance that an MLP needs to thrive. But for those companies that incorporate the MLP, the reward is great: the development of products that not only get your customers to rally around you (as Brian notes) but gets you more focused on your customers.

Contact Moonshot to discuss how we can help you get started.

Mike Edmonds

Mike Edmonds

Managing Director, VP Product