“Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) is a very buzzy buzzword these days. Pair with a “disruption”, a “synergy”, a “sprint”, and a plummy glass of Malbec, and you get a luncheon pitch that’s into the Q&A phase before the entree arrives.

MVP is supposed to contain the idea of a high-efficiency tech product development strategy made possible by flows of live customer data that enable “what’s next” feature development learning, instant Cloud update and SaaS version distribution, and Agile methodologies. “Supposed to” is the key phrase. Instead, MVP is often code for half-planned, half-baked, half-tested piles of stapled-together code libraries masquerading as a “product” with updates pushed into the world six times a day as unpaid beta testers… er, customers and end users… gripe about the mess of an app they’re trying to use. This is the difference between the real, and the ideal; the chasm between the pitch, and the practice.

The “minimum” in MVP refers to “minimum features” not “minimum effort”.

It bears asking: is there a causal relationship between the proliferation of the MVP strategy, and the increasing unwillingness of users to download new apps to try? Is it a mere coincidence that users are quicker than ever to uninstall new apps? Are we looking at one reason why customers are focusing more of their time on a decreasing number of leading apps?

These profound shifts in user behavior measured over the last two years, and intensifying this year, may be a fruit of the misused and abused form the MVP concept.

Food for though as you sip that Malbec.