Introducing Minimum Adoptable Platform (MAP): A Paradigm Shift from MVP in Platform Development

Two rhino illustrations side by side, one showing a rhino using post-it notes, the other showing a rhino reading a map

In the realm of startup ventures, the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has long been heralded as the go-to strategy for testing the waters and garnering early feedback. However, for innovative ventures like Rutabaga, where we’re building a platform rather than a traditional product, adhering to the MVP framework poses significant challenges and limitations. Enter the Minimum Adoptable Platform (MAP) approach, a revolutionary concept that reframes the traditional MVP methodology, tailored specifically for platform development. Inspired by the notion of Maximum Adoptable Release (MAR) conceptualized by our colleague, Forrest Murphy, our journey towards MAP began with a fundamental realization: we are not merely creating a product, but building a platform.

The distinction between product and platform is pivotal. While a product typically focuses on delivering a specific set of features or functionalities to address a particular need, a platform transcends these boundaries, providing a foundation upon which others can build their own solutions and ecosystems. This fundamental difference underscores the inadequacy of the MVP framework for platform development.

Applying the MAP Framework at Rutabaga

At Rutabaga, our approach to product development revolves around the principles of Desirability, Viability, and Feasibility (DVF). We’ve done extensive research — to the tune of hundreds of interviews — to ascertain the desirability of our platform, and determined that people truly want what we’re offering. We have also validated that users are willing to pay a price that sustains our business model. Finally, extensive prototyping and proofs of concepts have ensured feasibility, that what we propose is not just a lofty idea but a tangible solution that can be built and scaled.

With ample evidence that our DVF is solid, our focus shifted towards crafting the Minimum Adoptable Platform, the base level of functionality that would provide value and satisfy the needs found in our DVF assessment. Unlike traditional MVP iterations that often prioritize speed over comprehensiveness, MAP necessitates a deeper understanding of user needs and behaviors. Early generative research and concept testing with paper prototypes became indispensable tools in our arsenal, allowing us to iterate and refine our platform’s core features before diving into development.

The MAP approach compels us to de-risk early by investing time and resources upfront to validate our assumptions and hypotheses. In a landscape where the distinction between success and failure can hinge on the viability of our platform, the decision to prioritize adoptability over mere viability is not just prudent – it’s imperative.

Looking ahead, as we continue to navigate the dynamic landscape of platform development, the MAP methodology will serve as our guiding light, ensuring that every iteration of our platform is not just viable but inherently adoptable. In a world where innovation rules, the path to success lies in understanding adaptability.

In conclusion, the transition from Minimum Viable Product to Minimum Adoptable Platform marks a paradigm shift in how we approach platform development – one that prioritizes user adoption and engagement above all else. As we embark on this transformative journey, we invite fellow pioneers and visionaries to join us in redefining the future of technology, one adoptable platform at a time.

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