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Delivering value through minimum operational product model

A minimum viable product (MVP) is no longer enough for enterprise teams given its primary focus on the customer. A product must now be operationally efficient and effective for the enterprise as well. And here’s where a minimum operational product (MoP) wins over MVP. The latter focuses on rapidly validating a product concept by delivering minimal functionality. 


But, the minimum operational product approach adds a layer of engineering efficiency and enterprise value to the practice of building MVPs extending it to operationalize a product for a business setting.

MoP helps incorporate enterprise value 


The minimum operational product approach starts with identifying the various business processes in an enterprise and then figuring out what can be automated or remain manual. Once this step is done, the MVP approach is applied to those automated pieces creating enterprise products that not only provide value to customers but also consider the operational requirements of the enterprise adopting this process. 


Leveraging operational strengths for a holistic approach


To build a MOP, enterprises begin by identifying their business process desired outcomes and aligning product milestones. Using product management principles, they dissect individual features to identify problems, pain points and potential gains. For instance, if the objective is to commence transporting students to and from school by a specific date, the milestones would include driver onboarding, student onboarding, planning trip servicing for the whole school year,  initiation of trip services, monitoring these trips daily and finally accounting. Since B2B products rely on various operational processes, the MOP maps interactions across manual and automated procedures. These steps are documented as standard operating procedures (SOPs).


Gaining flexibility for your business


The MOP approach facilitates flexibility and responsiveness to your ever-changing business plans. In the MOP approach, the focus of product managers is on operational elements such as understanding business operational liabilities, contract negotiations, supply, demand, billing, payments, business forecasting, etc. While certain SOPs remain unchanged, others are adjusted or enhanced to accommodate the introduction of new products or features. The operations team undergoes training to adhere to the continuously improved workflows.


Enabling continuous improvement


For the MOP approach to work effectively, it needs to go through the rigor of continuous improvement processes. Development and operations teams need to review processes at regular intervals, typically every three months, to drive refinement of the MOP approach.


All while still staying focused on the customer


Following the build-measure-learn cycle, product teams collect user feedback post-launch to gain insights and enhance their offerings. They monitor production support tickets to identify issues or areas requiring improvement or automate an existing manual process. interviews are conducted with the operations team on a well-defined schedule to prioritize the work. 


In the end, our moonshot objective is to help enterprises make faster decisions, bring efficiency to the way they do business and create accountability at all levels.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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