Perfect vs 80% MVP

During the product development lifecycle, there is usually one question that comes up: "Should we change the scope, or should we deliver the perfect product/feature?"

From an Agile perspective, it makes sense to reduce the scope to a minimum viable product (MVP) launch it and measure how successful or helpful this feature is for your users. You gain some benefits like time to market as the feature is already earning some money.

But at companies, people can also tend to the exact opposite mindset: build a 100% perfect feature. You can say that's an unnecessary perfectionist behavior. But wait a moment. Is that really the case?

The startup view

For a startup without a significant userbase and a big drain on money, it's potentially a good idea to release non-perfect features and products to gain at least some value out of it. Because your brand is not that well known, and your product is not used by that many people. So even an MVP with not perfect user experience is most likely not harming your business that much. So I would say for a startup, an MVP approach can be an ideal fit.

The grown-up company view

On the other side, I think that's not always true for established companies and products with a significant userbase, mainly if your product attracts loyal heavy users. Every time you launch an MVP with reduced feature scope, it's possible you lose some of your loyal and best users. If you define their use-case as a non-MVP use-case, that's a big thread you should not ignore.

Does this mean established companies cannot change their feature scope and are doomed to be slow? No, I don't think so. As soon as you identified your risk of losing your loyal heavy users, you can scope your feature/product accordingly. One thing that can support you is to create a persona for exact this group of people. After establishing this persona as a mandatory check against the launch scope of a customer-facing feature, you should be good to go to reduce the scope and be faster than the perfect solution. Of course, there are also other options to test out products faster even within a larger company like launching individual test products under a different brand, for example.