Minimum Testable Product vs Minimal Viable Product (MTE vs MVP): What’s the difference?

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In the world of product development, two terms often come up: Minimum Testable Product (MTE) and Minimal Viable Product (MVP). While they might sound quite similar, they represent distinct concepts in the world of product management. In this article, we will explore the differences between MTE and MVP, shedding light on when and how to use them.

Understanding the Basics

Minimum Testable Product (MTE)

The Minimum Testable Product (MTE) is a concept that revolves around creating a product version that is testable. It’s not about delivering the bare minimum features to the users, as the focus here is primarily on the testability aspect. The MTE serves as an experimental prototype, designed for rigorous testing, user feedback, and validation.

In more detail, the MTE is a pivotal phase where product managers aim to validate a product concept or idea. It typically includes a broader set of features than an MVP, often incorporating elements that might not make it to the final product. This extended feature set is intended to subject the product to comprehensive testing, allowing teams to assess its viability and make informed decisions. By creating an MTE, you create a controlled environment for experimentation, where you can gather invaluable data and insights. This feedback helps in understanding user preferences, identifying pain points, and shaping the final product to be more aligned with user expectations.

Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

On the other hand, the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is centered on delivering the smallest possible set of features that can be launched to users. The goal is to provide a functional product with just enough features to satisfy early adopters and gather valuable feedback for further iterations.

To expand further, an MVP focuses on delivering a product that is ready for real-world use by a broader audience. This version is lean and minimalistic, including only the core features necessary to provide value to early users. It doesn’t aim to be feature-rich; instead, it seeks to address a specific problem or need in a straightforward manner. The MVP approach is about getting your product into the hands of users as swiftly as possible. It’s not about creating a perfect, feature-packed solution from the outset, but rather a functional one that can evolve based on user feedback. Early adopters are typically more forgiving of potential flaws and can provide insights that guide the product’s development in subsequent iterations.

Key Differences

Now that we have a more comprehensive understanding of MTE and MVP, let’s delve into the key differences between these two concepts.

1. Focus

MTE: MTE primarily focuses on the testability aspect. It’s designed to be a robust testing ground for a product idea, with an emphasis on validation and refinement.

MVP: MVP, in contrast, emphasizes getting a product in the hands of users as quickly as possible to gather real-world feedback.

In essence, the primary focus of an MTE is to ensure that the product can undergo rigorous testing. The aim is to create a robust prototype that can be thoroughly examined and validated. This phase is vital for ironing out any flaws or uncertainties in the product concept before investing significant resources.

Conversely, an MVP’s primary focus is on delivering a functional product with minimal features. This approach allows you to collect real user feedback and insights that can drive future iterations and refinements. MVPs are designed for early market validation and quick adaptation based on user responses.

2. Features

MTE: MTE may include a wider range of features, often beyond the basic necessities. These additional features are integrated for comprehensive testing.

MVP: MVP includes only the essential features required for the product to function. It’s lean and minimalistic.

In the MTE phase, you might see a more extensive feature set. This inclusiveness is intentional, as it’s meant to expose the product to a variety of test scenarios. While not all these features may make it to the final product, they play a crucial role in thoroughly testing the product’s potential.

Conversely, an MVP deliberately includes only the core features necessary for the product’s basic functionality. This minimalistic approach ensures that development efforts are focused on delivering a working product as quickly as possible. By keeping the feature set lean, you can streamline the development process and respond to user feedback more efficiently.

3. User Base

MTE: The user base for an MTE is typically a limited group, consisting of individuals who can provide thorough feedback.

MVP: MVP targets a broader audience, including early adopters who are more forgiving of potential flaws.

For an MTE, the user base is often limited to a select group of individuals who can provide in-depth feedback. This group is carefully chosen to ensure thorough testing and validation. Their insights are instrumental in shaping the product.

In contrast, an MVP is designed for a more extensive user base. It targets early adopters who are often more forgiving of potential flaws in the product. This wider reach allows you to gather feedback from a diverse audience, helping you understand how your product fares in real-world usage scenarios.

4. Iteration

MTE: After rigorous testing and validation, an MTE is refined and iterated upon before progressing to a full-fledged product.

MVP: MVP is the initial version of the product, with the intention of rapid iteration based on user feedback.

The MTE phase involves a rigorous process of testing, validation, and refinement. After gathering feedback and insights, the product undergoes iterations to address identified issues and improve its overall quality. It serves as a crucial intermediary step before progressing to a full-fledged product.

Conversely, an MVP is the starting point for your product. It’s designed to be the first version that reaches the market. Subsequent iterations and improvements are based on user feedback and insights gathered from the MVP’s initial release. This iterative approach allows for agility and adaptation as you fine-tune the product based on user responses.

5. Purpose

MTE: The primary purpose of MTE is to validate the product concept and its feasibility, often before significant development efforts.

MVP: MVP aims to validate the market need for a product and gather insights to refine future iterations.

The primary purpose of an MTE is to validate the product concept and its feasibility. It often occurs at the early stages of product development, even before significant development efforts are invested. By creating an MTE, you can assess whether the product concept holds promise and if it’s worth further development.

On the other hand, an MVP’s primary purpose is to validate the market need for a product. It serves as a tool to gather insights and feedback from real users to determine whether the product solves a genuine problem or addresses a specific need. The insights gained from the MVP guide future iterations, ensuring that the product aligns more closely with market demands.

When to Use MTE and MVP

The choice between MTE and MVP depends on the specific goals and stage of your product development. If you are at an early stage and need to validate your product idea, MTE can be a valuable tool. However, if you are ready to launch a functional product and gather user feedback for improvements, MVP is the way to go.

When to Use MTE

1. Early Concept Validation: MTE is ideal when you have a product concept or idea that needs thorough validation. It helps you assess the feasibility of your concept before investing heavily in development.

2. Comprehensive Testing: If your product concept involves complex or interdependent features that require comprehensive testing, creating an MTE can be beneficial. This phase allows you to identify potential issues early.

3. Reducing Risk: MTE can help mitigate risks associated with developing a product that might not meet user expectations. It provides an opportunity to make informed decisions before proceeding.

4. Limited Resources: When you have limited resources but want to explore the potential of your product idea, MTE can be a cost-effective way to gather critical insights.

When to Use MVP

1. Ready for Market Validation: If you believe your product is ready for market validation and can address a specific need, MVP is the appropriate choice.

2. Rapid User Feedback: MVP is perfect when you want to gather user feedback quickly to guide subsequent iterations and improvements.

3. Efficient Resource Utilization: By focusing on minimal features, MVP allows you to efficiently allocate resources to core development, ensuring a swift time-to-market.

4. Market Entry: When you aim to enter the market with a functional product and begin building your user base, MVP is the way to go.

In conclusion, both Minimum Testable Product (MTE) and Minimal Viable Product (MVP) serve distinct purposes in the product development process. Understanding the differences between the two and knowing when to apply each concept is crucial for successful product management. The choice between MTE and MVP should align with your product’s current stage, goals, and available resources. By making informed decisions about which approach to use, you can significantly enhance your product’s chances of success.


  1. Can an MTE and MVP be the same thing? No, they are fundamentally different. An MTE focuses on testability, while an MVP focuses on delivering a minimal, functional product.
  2. Is one approach better than the other? It depends on your product development stage and goals. MTE is suitable for early validation, while MVP is ideal for launching a product.
  3. What’s the risk of skipping MTE and going straight to MVP? By skipping MTE, you might miss important insights and face a higher risk of developing a product that doesn’t meet user needs.
  4. How do I decide what features to include in an MVP? Prioritize features that are essential for the core functionality and align with your product vision.
  5. Can I transition from MTE to MVP? Yes, an MTE can serve as a stepping stone to develop a refined MVP, leveraging insights gained during testing.

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