The MVP Canvas

23 Dec 2015 | Lean Inception

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The MVP Canvas is a lean startup template for validating new or clarifying existing lean product ideas. It is a visual chart with elements describing a MVP—minimum viable product´s proposal, business hypothesis, metrics, features, personas, journeys, and schedule. It assists entrepreneurs in aligning their ideas with the underlying (minimum & viable) work to create and validate it.

>> Download the MVP canvas (ready to print as a pdf)


The MVP canvas brings together elements of lean startup, design thinking and business directions.

From Lean Startup, we have the build-measure-learn loop. This loop is represented by the features under construction (build), the results (learning), and metrics to validate the assumptions (measure). The following questions are raised by this loop: What are we going to build on this MVP? How do we measure the results of this MVP? Which learning are we seeking in this MVP?

The build-measure-learn loop seems straightforward, but it’s hard to put it into practice due to its combination of scientific approach (build to learn) with an engineering mentality (learn to build). To assist in understanding and building the MVP, you can complement it with another loop: user-journey-action, which should answer the following questions:

Who is this MVP for? Which users´ journeys will be improved with this MVP? What actions will be simplified / improved on this MVP?

These questions are “human-centered” – that is people-oriented. These are typical questions upraised by the design thinking approach, a human-centered method for creative problem solving and innovation.

Regardless of applying lean startup and design thinking, an entrepreneur’s plan must be up to a standard that supports the business direction. Your MVP canvas must answer these two business questions: What is the vision for this MVP? What is the cost and schedule for this MVP?

The MVP canvas is divided into the following seven elements:

  1. MVP Proposal – What’s the Proposal for this MVP?
  2. Segmented Personas – Who is this MVP for? Can we segment and test this MVP in a smaller group?
  3. Journeys – What journeys are going to be improved with this MVP?
  4. Features – What are we building in this MVP? Which actions are going to be simplified or improved in this MVP?
  5. Expected result – What learning or result we are seeking in this MVP?
  6. Metrics to validate the business hypotheses – How can we measure the results of this MVP?
  7. Cost & Schedule – What is the expected cost and due date of this MVP? When can we look at the data for validating it? Is there any schedule constraint?


>> Download the MVP canvas (ready to print as a pdf)



“Build, Measure and Learn” as Steve Blank says: is much more elaborate than putting software into production to see if it works. The Lean Startup movement is very promising, but for many teams it ends up translating into an important question: ”Yeah, but what to build ?”


If your team have filled up the MVP Canvas, then you have answered the question. Now it’s about going through the cycle, as many times as needed.


The MVP Canvas is explained in detail on the Lean Inception book. The book goes in detail about the MVP and how to effectively run a Lean Inception workshop to align about the MVP. The MVP Canvas is the last activity on a Lean Inception workshop.




Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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