Minimum Viable Product is a product with the fewest number of features needed to deliver value customers are willing to “pay” for with some form of scarce resource.
Eric Ries’ original definition is “that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” This definition has evolved over time, but its essence has not changed much from Steve Blank’s product feature set hypothesis in the customer discovery phase of The Four Steps: “The last part of your customer/problem brief is one that the Product Development team will be surprised to see. You want to understand the smallest feature set customers will pay for in the first release.”
I’ve purposefully generalized the definition to avoid “money” as part of it since it’s possible to define an Minimum Viable Product where a customer pays you something other than money to represent viability. But I prefer to distinguish between a Minimum Viable Product and a Lean Startup experiment. A Minimum Viable Product is an experiment, but any old experiment is not an Minimum Viable Product. A landing page testing your value proposition is an experiment, not a Minimum Viable Product.
Let’s save the term Minimum Viable Product for an actual version of the product that attempts to deliver the actual value to the actual customer.