Minimum Marketable Features: An Agile Essential
“Agile is all about adapting to change; it was built on the foundational principle that business drivers will change and the development teams must be ready to adapt”
Organizations no longer compete on product or service but they compete on experience of faster to market with quality results. It is an organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, which gives it the ultimate competitive advantage. More often than not, it’s seen that most organizations focus on delivering the software and not paying enough attention to the value the software brings to the business.
What is a Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)?
A Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF) is the smallest set of functionality that can be delivered, which has value to both the organization delivering it and the end customer using it. MMF is characterized by its three attributes: Minimum, Marketable and Feature.
- Minimum attribute represents the smallest set whether a feature or feature set, which is key for faster time to market
- Marketable attribute represents the selling of the significant value to the end customer and to the delivering organization
- Feature attribute represents the perceived value by the end customer and delivering organization. Value may include brand recognition, competitive advantage, revenue generation, cost savings or enhanced customer loyalty.
How MMF is essential for being Agile?
Agile is an iteratively incremental SDLC methodology in which requirements and solutions evolve through communication and collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams. Agile promotes ‘building the right thing’ through
- Customer involvement,
- Adaptive planning,
- Evolutionary development,
- Early delivery,
- Continuous improvement and
- Encourages rapid & flexible response to change
in delivering high quality product or service. MMF provides an essential tool to effectively decompose customer needs into finer grain features, which can be delivered more rapidly than waiting for large scale features to be complete. Using the concepts of MMF, decompose the epics into smaller sets of user stories that provide value to end users in shorter development cycles. In Agile SDLC, it’s during the product backlog grooming when the value of requirements or features can be quantified based on how these requirements contribute to the business objectives. During the grooming, using INVEST model to define a user story or MoSCoW for prioritization, various models or methods could be applied that helps to identify the most important features to implement or identifies the MMFs. A release could then be the collection of one or more MMFs, which can be delivered together within the agreed time frame.
Product innovation is tied to change and often the need for change appears midstream in a project so decomposing the requirements into Minimum Marketable Features (MMF) helps have the edge while improving the time to market. One essential advantage of MMF is the ability to make changes during development without being too disruptive. In other words, MMF helps in adjusting product requirements during development in response to customer feedback. Jim Shore in his Phase Releases article had shared how to use phased delivery to increase project value:
- Group functionality into MMFs that can be released individually.
- Create a release plan that deploys high-value features first.
- Have the entire team focus on one releasable feature at a time.
- Use continuous design to spread out investment in technical infrastructure.
- Deploy releases as soon as possible.