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From Viable to Lovable: A Journey Through Business Product Approaches

Updated: Mar 12


In the world of product management and development, two phrases often resonate – Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and Minimum Lovable Product (MLP). These methodologies share common ground as they both relate to the development process of new products. However, their implications, implementation and core philosophies differ extensively.

This article aims to dissect and explore these differences.

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Understanding the Concepts

Let's break it down and unravel these interesting lexicons.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Eric Ries, the pioneer of the Lean Startup methodology, introduced the concept of the MVP. He defines it as the version of a new product that allows teams to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

An MVP focuses on:

  • Addressing critical business hypotheses

  • Testing a product's core functionalities

  • Allowing iterative improvement based on customers’ feedback and reactions

Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)

In contrast, MLP takes a slightly different approach. It doesn’t just aim for functionality or viability; it strives to develop a product that the users will love from the get-go.

An MLP emphasizes:

  • User delight from the first touchpoint

  • Crafting an emotional connection with the users

  • Delivering more than bare essential features

Now that we have a basic understanding of each concept, let's further delve into their differences.

Key Differences Between MVP and MLP

User Experience

The first noticeable difference between MVP and MLP can be seen in the user experience. An MVP’s primary goal is to test the waters and get the product validated for functionality. On the other hand, MLP aims to plunge and mesmerize users with a memorable and delightful experience from the very first interaction.

Meeting User Needs vs. Exceeding Them

An MVP primarily confirms the product's capability to meet the user's basic needs. This approach helps businesses optimize costs and resources during the initial stages of product development. In contrast, an MLP is designed to exceed user's expectations by offering something extra, aiming not just for satisfaction, but for user delight and engagement.

The Emotional Quotient

Perhaps one of the most distinguishing factors is the focus on the emotional experience of the user. While an MVP only solves the user's problem, an MLP goes a step further to evoke positive emotions in the user, creating a sense of attachment towards the product.

Choosing the Right Approach: MVP or MLP?

The choice between an MVP and an MLP depends mostly on the nature of your business, the stage of your product, and your long-term goal. If the goal is to quickly validate a business idea or hypothesis and learn more about market needs, MVP would be the preferable route.

However, if your product is at a stage where you need to establish a deeper connection with the users and create a strong brand presence, MLP would be a sound option.


Both MVP and MLP carry their unique significance and value. MVP is about doing the bare minimum to validate your hypotheses, while MLP is about going beyond the basic to create a loving connection between your user and your product.

Understanding the differences between each can help you take the right approach in your product development journey and ensure sustained success. Your choice between MVP and MLP should depend on your overall strategy, market understanding, and user needs.

The right balance, however, might lie somewhere in between - delivering a product that is not just viable but also sparks joy in the users' hearts.

Infographic detailing the difference between a minimum viable product and a minimum lovable product

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