A recent post on the Signal vs Noise blog titled What happens to user experience in a minimum viable product? hits on an important point that I don’t think is covered enough: a minimum viable product doesn’t mean critical functionality is left out. The entrepreneurial tendency is to over-engineer the product in a vacuum and then realize that too many assumptions were incorrect. The minimum viable product is designed to go to the other extreme and build the simplest product that does something useful and then get user feedback as you iterate on it.
In some B2C cases, and many B2B cases, the market demands a minimum acceptable product. A minimum acceptable product is a minimum viable product plus a few (not too many!) niceties people expect in a quality product. The niceties could include items like the password reset option and other generally accepted features. A minimum acceptable product still should not be developed in a vacuum and driven with close customer input. One rule of thumb I like is that the minimum viable product should be built and launched in 90 days with the minimum acceptable product no more than 45 days after that.
What else? What do you think of minimum viable product vs minimum acceptable product?