The Lean Startup - Mundane MVP™ + FREE CHEAT SHEET

Episode 87 - 31 May 2017

Last time, we looked at MVPs from Zappos, Dropbox and Buffer. This time, I’m going to borrow - heavily - from one of them. Can guess which one?

I'm going to be designing an end-to-end Minimum Viable Product - Minimum Viable EXPERIMENT, if you prefer. It's the most basic - the most MUNDANE - that I can think of.

I'd be very interested to have your thoughts on the model... especially if you can think of a way of going even MORE mundane!

Remember to grab your copy of The Lean Startup Cheat Sheet


We looked at 3 awesome Minimum Viable Products.


I’ll attempt to design something a little more... Mundane.

On track

Our “course-of-some-kind” is still on track. We've successfully navigated around a couple of traps:

The trap of jumping straight in and “building the damn thing”.

And the trap of asking customers what they want. (Think surveys and polls.)

I introduced this model - the Build-Measure-Learn loop - and revealed its hidden power: the Assumptions-Metric-Experiment anti-clockwise flow.

That led us to Minimum Viable Products aka MVPs. And we looked at the MVPs of Zappos, Dropbox and Buffer.

Of the three, Zappos is by far my favourite. It was a genius way to determine if people would buy shoes online - at a time where few people were buying anything online.

It was the perfect EXPERIMENT for its time. But now that we can get EVERYTHING online, it’s not an example that’s particularly transferrable.

Dropbox’s MVP - the demonstration of a working prototype - is more transferable.

And then there’s Buffer’s MVP. Not nearly as impressive as the other two. It is, dare I say it, rather mundane.

But very, very steal-able. Shall we try it out for size?

We’ll need a landing page. To outline the details of the course. Listing the benefits. Encouraging people to sign up.

A big button, of course. And clicking the button leads to a Thank You page.

And there’d be an opportunity for people to enter an email address - so that we can get in touch when the course is ready.


Now all we need to do is get people to this page - the landing page.

I could put a link on my website. I could put a link in the description of my videos. But there’s a problem with that:

I’d be talking to people… that are already here.

It would be a “cleaner” experiment if the visitors to this page were people other than, well, other than you. So I’m thinking that running an ad would be a good idea.

Facebook ads are capable of quite specific targeting, So I could get an ad in front of people that are interested in Agile… or Scrum… or Kanban as appropriate.

End to end, the system - our Minimum Viable Product, Minimum Viable EXPERIMENT if you prefer - looks like this.

Let’s just check in with the model; the hidden part of the model:

Assumption: The course will result in an increase in the number of email subscribers.

Metric: The system would generate a range of numbers:

  • % of people that saw the ad… and clicked through
  • % of people that made it to the landing page… and clicked the button
  • % of people that made it to the ‘thank you’ page… and entered an email address

As was the case with Buffer, it’s not a perfect experiment: the percentage of people who enter an email address to “express interest” will be much lower that the percentage that would email an email address to get their hands on “the real thing” (our 5 Day Mini Course).

So the final metric will be skewed. The other metrics should be accurate.

The Mundane MVP

I rather like this Mundane MVP. And and I'm quite taken with the notion of Mundane MVPs.

So I'd love to know your thoughts on this model. And I'd love to know if you can think of an MVP that's even more mundane! Let me know in the comments below.