Rethinking the Digital MVP: Your Museum’s Viable Product

Lightning Talk
Ariana French, American Museum of Natural History, USA

If you’ve ever worked on a digital project using an Agile or iterative methodology, you might have heard of the “MVP”: Minimum Viable Product. An MVP is typically an early version of a digital product, such as a web site or a mobile app, that contains the minimum feature set required to gather more information about users and their desired product experience. By focusing on an MVP approach, digital teams can quickly get their product into the hands of users, gain rapid understanding of audience needs, and determine whether the product is hitting target goals without a large up-front investment.

That’s the basic concept of an MVP―but in practice, the process can look very different. At the American Museum of Natural History, a large web site redesign process surfaced challenges of adhering to an MVP-based approach.

In this lightning talk, attendees will hear about:
– Why the MVP is so attractive to stakeholders and project teams
– The pros and cons of an MVP-centered methodology
– How an MVP approach can unravel and what to do about it
– How to adjust stakeholder expectations while keeping the project on track

Using the case study of a web site redesign, the talk will highlight challenges of establishing a feature set baseline for an MVP, discuss the constructive tension between minimum feature sets and stakeholder wishes, and offer insights in how to navigate pitfalls of an iterative digital project.