MVP vs MDP vs MMF vs MLP: Main Startup Stages Comparison

When creating and developing any IT product, there are always people from technology and people from the business. Both categories are somehow familiar with MVP, with the only caveat that the latter is much larger than the former. What about MDP, MMF, MLP?

In this article, we will determine what these abbreviations mean and what should be implemented in your project. Here we prepared a full outsourcing SaaS development guide.

Main Stages of Tech Startup Development

It is useful to know where you are along the continuum, particularly for early-stage startups. Your position can help investors, partners, prospective employees, and others frame their thinking about your current growth and potential for success.  

Fundraising throughout the process is always challenging, so start with a solid idea, a clear business plan, and a strong founding team, and your probability of success increases.  


Reading news about projects and services, you might often come across the concept of MVP. But what is hidden under this abbreviation and why is MVP so often used at the initial stages of product development? Let's figure this out together right now.

What is an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is like a test version of a product or service, containing the fewest necessary features, sometimes even just one, to provide value or gather feedback from users. Typically identified during the initial stages of product discovery, an MVP serves as a foundational prototype for further development and refinement.

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Purpose of an MVP

MVPs are created to test hypotheses and test the viability of the intended product, and how valuable and in demand it will be on the market.

The results of testing the minimum viable product and feedback from the target audience help to understand whether it is worth developing the project further, what changes should be made to the strategy, and what should be left in its original form.

  1. MVP Development Process
  2. Determination of the basic principles for creating an MVP.
  3. Finding a problem that MVP will solve.
  4. Search for the target audience.
  5. Identification and analysis of the main competitors.
  6. Conducting a SWOT analysis.
  7. Create a user journey map.
  8. Compiling a list of product features.
  9. Scoping the MVP.
  10. Choice of management and development method.
  11. Conducting testing.

After going through 10 stages, you will get a good minimum viable product, which will later develop into the first version of a full-fledged project. And do not be afraid to make changes: abandon some stages, add your own, etc. This sequence of steps is not a strict rule but only an example or template from which you can build something of your own and unique.

MVP Examples

The usefulness of developing an MVP is proven by examples of large companies. For example, Daniel Ek and Martin Laurenson launched a small service in 2006 with one function: music streaming. Today, their product - Spotify - is valued at $21 billion, collaborates with major recording studios, and has an active audience of 50 million people.

In 2008, when renting a hotel or accommodation while traveling was a big problem, two enthusiasts decided to go outside the box and rent out their apartments via simple fax. This is also an MVP in which the primary function was tested. The experiment showed that the product would be in demand, and today Airbnb is one of the largest platforms for finding short-term rental housing.


The next stages in the project development are Minimum Marketable Product and Minimum Marketable Release. Read more in our article on SaaS product roadmap.


What is MMR and What is MMP

The Minimum Marketable Release (MMR) is the delivery of all the functionality in MMF; to make it simpler, the MMR will be the delivery of all the expected features that are each developed in the minimum version indispensable for presenting them to customers.

MMF features 1 + MMF feature 2 + MMF feature 3 = MMR

It is possible to have a second MMR if the product must evolve to meet new needs.

MMP (Minimum Marketable Product) is the first MMR. If we define a second MMR, it will not be considered like the MMP.

Purpose MMP and MMR

The minimum marketable product aims to document market feedback from real users and get the first monetization proof of success.

MMP and MMR Examples

An example of a minimal marketable product is the original iPhone, launched in 2007. One of the secrets behind its success is the narrow set of customer needs Apple selected. The company avoided the trap of trying to please too many people at once, of trying to copy all the features competitors offered.

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An MMF stands for a minimum marketable feature and defines a must-have feature of your product that will bring immediate value to the customer.
What is a Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)?
The Minimal Marketable Feature is the smallest functionality that can be delivered and has value to the organization and the people using it.

Purpose of MMF

Often, an MMF comes up because tiny product adjustments may not make the product more marketable, but as the aspects of a feature coalesce into something meaningful that can be described and marketed to customers, it makes more sense. The feature has intrinsic value on its own to customers and could be deployed by itself and marketed in a way to attract new paying users.

MMF Examples

After an initial product with some solid core features has been released, new features may be added progressively. One very stark example is the operating systems of cell phones or computers. The smartphone would, of course, work right out of the box. But, throughout using it, users would see more updates added regularly. These features add value to the product but aren't required initially. Hence, they can be added incrementally.


These startup process acronyms stand for minimum loveable, minimum delightful, and minimum awesome product respectively.

What are MLP, MDP, and MAP

An MLP or a minimum loveable product takes the MMP and adds new cool features that your customers will love. This removes the "dullness" often associated with MVPs and MMPs and adds bits and bobs that give your product a "daily use" capability. MLPs offer an innovative user interface and a better user experience that is both reliable and functional.

An MDP or a minimum delightful product furthers your MLP and adds some wow factor. An MDP has the wow potential to woo your investors and audiences with a product that is an absolute delight. 

A MAP or a minimum awesome product adds a world-class user interface, the most-requested enhancements and functionalities that give it a definite edge over an MDP. 

Purpose of MLP, MDP, and MAP

This is the final iteration of a lean product that is closest to a full-fledged commercial product. This product will have every requested feature, an outstanding and well-polished user interface, and offer a world-class user experience to your target audience.

MLP, MDP, and MAP Examples

In short, this is the product your users will want to use daily — similar to Uber, Airbnb, Instagram and many others. 

As an entrepreneur, you may face the dilemma of launching your product or waiting until it's polished enough. As a lean startup, you can leverage the power of iterative development and constant updates to keep your customers engaged and satisfied as you improve the product across releases. 

Comparison Table: MVP VS MDP VS MMF Vs. MLP

We made it simpler for you to navigate these abbreviations and see the difference between MVP in software development and other terms. Before you think about the MVP development cost, look at the comparison table. 

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What Works Better, MVP or MDP?

A few examples to help understand the difference between MVP and MDP:

If you've built a game with an impressive viral effect but a terrible churn rate, then you've built an MVP, not an MDP.
If you have a profitable dating service that generates tons of users who end up signing up for a monthly subscription for 20 bucks, but none of them get the promised hot nights, then you have built an MVP, not an MDP.
If you invented a magic box that spits out a $100 bill every time you press a button (there is no button in the free version, haha), then this is a desirable product but not viable, that is, it is an MDP, not an MVP.
If you've created an amazing board game that your friends and family are playing passionately, but haven't found a publisher to distribute it, then you've created an MDP, not an MVP.
Of course, you can say: “OK, I read about the game that is played, but it does not make money, and about the dating service that makes 20 bucks. I think it’s easy to choose what I really need.”

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This is logical, and so many people think. In 2014, even such a position appeared - Growth Hacker - a person who provides an influx of new users. The problem is that it looks logical at arm's length, but if you take longer distances, then Growth Hacker can just kill a company if it created an MVP but did not take care of the MDP. And the better it works, the more likely it will bury. And now the first berries of this fatal mistake have begun to appear.

Let's say our project has:

An ingenious Growth Hacker that works really well, increasing downloads/visits by 100% every month with zero CAC.
A dull product manager who makes the product worse every month.
As a result of their work, business metrics will be very cool! More users, more money, but when the growth rate slows down, specific problems will emerge that the founders, who are greedy for MVP, did not foresee, and users will leave after some time.

My good friend Oleg Yakubenkov, the author of the GoPractice blog, who was an analyst at Zeptolab in the past and is now a product manager at API.AI, illustrated this example on his blog. I recommend reading.

Therefore, we can say that retention is the universal product desirability metric. Many who use modern analytics systems see it as a ladder of cohorts.

Consider two well-known products, one focused on MVP, the other on MDP: Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has always been focused on the desirability and the demand for the product by users. The user focus, which Zuckerberg never changed, kept him from adding Facebook ads early on.

On the other hand, for this very reason, many investors did not believe in Facebook. “Where is the money, Misha?” they would ask. If you could go back in time and ask Steve Ballmer what he thinks of Facebook, as he was once asked about the iPhone, I think it would sound like this: “Another social network that only works at a few universities and does not bring money? Seriously? Ha-ha! Approximately the same mistake is made by many experts and founders who evaluate projects only by business metrics, not users. In his post, in which Zuckerberg announced the purchase of Oculus Rift, his approach is very accurately described:

“Our mission is to make this world more open and accessible. In the last few years, that has meant creating mobile apps that help you share with the people who matter to you. We have done a lot in the mobile market. At this stage, we feel we have reached the point where we can focus on the platforms that will replace the current ones to provide an even more rewarding, entertaining and personal experience using our products (user experience) ".

But, unlike many companies, Facebook cares about users, not only in words. Remember the first Facebook mobile app? It was not native but simply a mobile version of the site that slowed down and crashed. And there were no ads. Then they released an updated mobile app that was faster, better performing, and more mobile-friendly. And only after a few updates, when it became clear that the product was convenient for users, they added advertising, which now brings millions in profits. Facebook has never chased instant profits. The company added monetization only after making sure that users liked the product.

What about Twitter? Twitter bragged about its achievements and showed fantastic growth in the number of users, but at the same time it became more and more a garbage dump with useless information and “look, I ate” messages. And at the same time, the company constantly thought about where and how to add advertising.

And as a result, from a company that sets trends and creates markets, Twitter has turned into another "those guys" who do not create a market but prey on users of other networks.

This is just one of the most obvious examples. You can collect much more. For example, Evernote used cohort analysis but analyzed the conversion to paying users. So Phil Libin was one of the main evangelists of cohort analysis, but he counted LTV, money and conversions. He did not count how many notes users create, whether there is a trend and, finally, whether they return to old notes, he did not count the metrics of the product's value for the user. We know the result. Who knows how things would have turned out if he had listened to the little Zuckerberg in himself and made Evernote as user-friendly as possible instead of adding pointless features like presentations, to-do lists, buying Skitch and other things that increase Evernote Premium conversion. We might end up initially with the product that Libin promised to create: “This is your brain uploaded to the server. This is Google for the internet of your life. The tool turns your phone from a time killer into a time saver."

Wrap Up

In today's world of complex project building and management, every product starts with an MVP, MMP, and MMF. There would be big-time confusion if you mix all of these terms. The Minimum Viable Product is mainly aimed at learning about the behavior of the users and customers and does not have an earning component. If necessary, when the product does not receive any responses as hypothesized, then the product could be completely abandoned. The Minimum Marketable Product is a product that is developed with minimum effort to make money for the business. 

The MMF is a part of MMP where the self-sustained and small features are identified and integrated into the product. These features are marketable and would satisfy the needs of the customer. Hence, next time you come across these terms, pay attention to the context they are being used and use them accordingly.

Nevertheless, suppose you are interested not only in understanding terminology but also in implementing these stages in your project. In that case, our team is ready to accompany you at every stage of MVP development services.


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