There are essentialists and there are perfectionists.
Essentialists essentially start with a minimal set of features to put a product in front of a customer. They validate whether there is anything useful in the new offering, and advance iteratively. When you behave like this, you are building a “minimum-viable product”.
Perfectionists carefully construct the entire package, mentally first and actually after. They put every piece, every feature in perfect order before the customer first sees it. They choose to stay in dark (i.e. with no feedback from the customer) for a long time and they are ok with it. When they launch, customer experiences a fully-finished, polished product.
The Silicon Valley culture cheers MVP approach, and they are not wrong; it helps a ton to pivot without incurring monumental costs. Yet, this doesn’t mean it is the only way. I want to celebrate three perfectionist projects from the media world in an era of MVPism.
Game of Thrones – every single detail, from the cast, to the costumes, to the screenplay are detailed, planned, perfected in advance.
House of Cards – almost everything that can be said about Game of Thrones, repeated.
The Porter magazine – a new fashion magazine by Net-a-porter group. 3 years planning. Perfect content, branding, distribution plan, digital footprint, advertisers, strategy connecting the core e-commerce business.
This is just another piece of the puzzle. MVP is not a rule. It is a choice.