An MVP ‘thin slice’ allows the product team to align a key business process for clear desired outcomes and value to ones who are ultimately paying up. This thought needs a little extra when it comes to Platform MVP.
A platform (data or otherwise) supports multiple channels (desktops, mobile, voice, etc), business applications that consume data via services and data sources that pour data into the platform.
The hour-glass approach allows to establish a platform MVP: a small set of capabilities critical for the key business application, useful & usable for at least two more applications and are scalable for many more business applications.
This approach matches the metaphor of an hour-glass. It is broad on the top covering a few business processes, narrow in middle for the minimal set of capabilities and broad at the bottom covering multiple data sources.
Platform MVP to Replace a Legacy Platform
When replacing a legacy system, it is common to take the Strangler Approach. However, for a platform, this runs a risk of creating a platform that was too close to the key business process and the relevant data sources. The platform runs the risk of being tightly coupled with that key business process.
The Platform Product team should focus on providing a minimal set of capabilities that would be useful for the key business application. These minimal set of capabilities should also be sufficiently useful for at least two other. The platform capabilities should be sufficiently useful for the other two business processes so they would invest enough time with the Platform Product team so the Platform ProMa can analyse their possible needs.
Platform MVP for a Business Process
Like in eCommerce, a business process consists of multiple important steps. Again, a ‘thin slice‘ or a ‘strangler application‘ may not evolve to the right MVP. The Product Team should identify key steps in the process and define ‘thin slice‘ or ‘strangler application‘ for each step.
I have effectively used this approach for designing a Data Platform for a Private Bank. I have talked about this approach in my book on Product Management called #ProMa.
Image Credit: hourglass by Mint Shirt from the Noun Project