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Should You Replace Your MVP with a RAT?

According to Senior Product Manager Rik Higham, the minimum viable product’s (MVP’s) problem is that “it’s not a product. It’s a way of testing whether you’ve found a problem worth solving.” In response, he has created the RAT: “riskiest assumption test.” Does your office need a RAT?

RATical Thinking

The utility of the RAT is that it is completely straightforward: You only build what is needed to test the biggest assumption. MVP meanwhile has been misused time and again, such that it is becoming unclear in an organization what an MVP actually is. Additionally, the RAT is something that benefits from multiple short iterations. Each time the biggest assumption has been validated, you can move on to the next biggest as needed.

Furthermore, Higham insists that the RAT is not just for startups, and that it might be even more important in large businesses:

Doing Riskiest Assumption Tests in established companies comes with different challenges. Constraints of a start-up drive the frugal thinking that lends itself so well to RATs. With plentiful resources there appear to be fewer consequences committing to large projects before validating them. Riskiest Assumption Tests require a different mindset. Dedicated engineers, designers and product managers can be their own worst enemy. Their professionalism pulling them towards perfected products. Leading to feature creep and polished code. But if no one needs your product then no one cares if it’s beautiful and has impeccable code quality.

For additional thoughts to help you decide on whether to use the RAT, you can view the original post at Hacker Noon: https://hackernoon.com/the-mvp-is-dead-long-live-the-rat-233d5d16ab02

About John Friscia

John Friscia was the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success from 2015 through 2018. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and grew in every possible way in his time there. John graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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