It is essential to establish the type of initiative for your project early on. Initiatives guide you when setting stakeholder expectations, determining best processes/practices, preventing scope creep, delays, or wasting resources.
In the vernacular of product development, most of these terms are well understood, except “Minimal Viable Product”. Some people commonly misinterpret a MVP as an initiative focused on well-groomed backlogs, and value-driven outcomes. The end goal of an MVP is rapid learning and risk mitigation, not a deployable product.
Minimal Viable Product (MVP) – In a Lean environment MVPs are focused on delivering a Kano prioritized roadmap. Typically aligned to business goals, used to assess Product/Market Fit and determine pricing before scaling your technology and marketing dollars. These initiatives may not be of production quality or made generally available.
Prototype – also commonly called a Proof-of-Concept is a preliminary model, wireframe design or implementation used to validate a hypothesis from which production-ready code is to be based on.
Parity Replacement – A product replacement typically due to quality, supply chain limitations, performance, capabilities, cost, capability obsolescence or manufacturer discontinuation. Do not assume that all feature functionality is still required or even desired.
Update – A change made to fix a problem, satisfy a new need or reveal a new feature. Bug fixes, API/SDK updates, OS, DB, UX changes.
Upgrade – Adding new service tiers, altering the purchasing or onboarding experience, bundling, discounting, special programs, promotions, segmented customer feature sets typically delivered with feature switches, micro-services or identiy driven implementations.
New Release – Adding, changing or replacing functionality, reliability, performance characteristics, elements of the user experience, cost reductions, or integrations.
Rework – Additional effort of redoing a process or activity that was incorrectly implemented in the first instance due to implementation errors, omissions, failures, changes, poor communications on a proposed solution.
Refactoring – Restructuring existing computer code, changing the factoring, without changing its external behavior. Refactoring is intended to improve the design, structure, performance and/or implementation of the software (its non-functional attributes), while preserving functionality.
Technology Transformation – integration of technology into an area of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a process or cultural change that requires continual challenge of the status quo, experiments, and getting comfortable with failure.