A cupcake represents the smallest possible cake-like confection that can be still be considered a complete cake. If we were doing waterfall development, we might be focusing on making a whole lot of bread before making any frosting, and planning to make one big cake a year from now. But instead we want to get our cupcake in front of users and see if they like it before we commit to making a huge sheet cake.
So how small should an MVP be? How quickly should it be released? Well, as someone once put it to us: “If you’re not embarrassed, you released too late.”
We created this approach by pulling from Human-Centered Design and design research.
By putting users at the center of this intentional process, the solutions meet the needs of the people they’re meant to serve.
By creating the smallest possible product that can still be considered a solution — known as an MVP, minimum viable product — we can get it in front of users early and test it before getting too far down the wrong path.
Don’t think of it as failure, think of it as designing experiments through which you are going to learn.
– Tim Brown, IDEO