July 23, 2014

Agile Coaching Blog

Should You TDD Your MVP?

Should you use Test Driven Development when creating your Minimum Viable Product?

At first glance, it seems like quite the conundrum.

TDD (Test-Driven Development) for MVP (minimum viable product)
Agile engineering principles strive for a test first approach, but if I don’t know who my customer is how can I determine what the quality should be?

My current line of thinking is this:

If you are using Test Driven Development to create your Minimum Viable Product, then it is more likely a Minimum Product.

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the smallest batch of work you can complete to gain the most learning about your customers. It may or may not be code. If you are mercilessly TDD’ing your product then it is probably much more than a fake door or concierge experiment. You’ve already committed to a feature or features that solve a customer problem.

TDD isn’t going to bring a lot to the table unless you are building out features.

So instead of asking whether or not you should TDD your MVP, perhaps you should be asking yourself if you’ve really validated the customer need for your value proposition. I would hope so, or you are adding the overhead of TDD to a Minimum Product that may not even be viable.

About David Bland David Bland

David has enjoyed success using lean and agile techniques at several companies in San Francisco and Washington DC. He joined his first dot com startup in 1999 and helped lead it to a 13 million dollar acquisition in 2006. Currently David brings startup thinking into large organizations to foster corporate entrepreneurship. He can usually be found writing, speaking and coaching around lean startup, business model generation and kanban.