Minimum Viable Performance: Concept and Application in Training - Complementary Training
Minimum Viable Performance: Concept and Application in Training

Minimum Viable Performance: Concept and Application in Training


Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a concept from “Lean Startup” methodology. I believe it has a lot to offer to training problems, hence the change in the name to Minimum Viable Performance.

I have already written about MVP in my Agile articles and videos, but wanted to give this concept some extra attention.

In the below picture you can find the general idea behind the MVP concept.


The general idea behind Agile Planning/Programming/Periodization is to learn as fast as possible and avoid over-planning. The concept of MVP fits nicely here. On the following picture there is a loop from Lean Startup methodology, but it is similar if not the same to PDCA loop (plan-do-check-act) covered in Agile posts:


So, what does this have anything to do with training? A lot. I believe that most of our problems exist in the complex domain (see Cynefin framework), where couple of things are being true:

  1. Our knowledge of what DOESN’T work is more robust, than our knowledge of what works
  2. We have multiple hypotheses of what might work
  3. We are dealing with a lack of information and we need to probe things
  4. We are dealing with the uncertainty of how things might evolve

Taking the above into consideration, iterative planning and deployment seem like a viable solution, instead of upfront planning (waterfall).
So, I believe that planning in sports corresponds with the following picture:


Let me guide you through the PDCA cycle above. Once we stumble on a new problem, like preparing the annual plan and so forth, we always start with our prior (to use Bayesian reasoning) knowledge and beliefs about how things work, what is needed and what we can expect results wise. But as mentioned above, our knowledge might be more negative: we are more certain what might not work, than we are certain in what might work. So we need to test multiple hypothesizes. Since we are dealing with complex unpredictable problem, we want to create fail-safe experiments that we can use to quickly learn what we are dealing with, but also quickly adapt if things changes.

In this case we need to avoid over-planning. We still need to have a big picture (i.e. release plan) that constraints our choices, but in the short-term we plan as needed and update our knowledge as we gain new insights (information, evidence).

So what does agile planner do in this case? One needs to build very simple plan, that will yield certain results (in this case MVP), that not only creates gut check, but also brings more information in return and help us converge to the appropriate solution. In other words, we plan to build MVP, and use that MVP to update our knowledge – we use it as very usable vehicle to test our hypothesizes and learn quickly.


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I am a physical preparation coach from Belgrade, Serbia, grew up in Pula, Croatia (which I consider my home town). I was involved in physical preparation of professional, amateur and recreational athletes of various ages in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, martial arts and tennis. Read More »

Welcome to Complementary Training Community! Forums Minimum Viable Performance: Concept and Application in Training

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by mm Mladen Jovanovic 7 years, 11 months ago.

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  • 14/06/2016 at 12:15 #18111

    MVP is a good term to use for a common sense logic that I apply on a micro scale in the S & C environment. For example when I have progressed athletes towards a complex movement such as a full Olympic lift or a plyometric drill, I will develop what I call a safe and reasonably effective ‘Movement Template’. Rather than spending 2 years to develop perfect technique in a power clean before weight becomes the focus I will establish a basic movement for the PC with my athlete that is safe and immediately productive biomechanically. Once a basic movement template has been established it can be improved upon one adjustment at a time while allowing the athlete to be active, progressive and positive towards greater mastery. At the end of the day we need to be acquiring skills and developing both mentally and physically and in many cases some tasks are avoided because they are too overwhelming to learn. I believe skills can be built in a pattern that allows involvement and progression with the ultimate goal of eventually acquiring the skill. As long as good coaching is applied the athlete can be guided successfully instead of having to learn and build multiple movements to get it 100% right over a longer period. I find this is mainly attributable to the complex exercises mentioned. Some exercises must be learnt in large part quickly in order to obtain a training progression however the concept of MVP even in relation to exercise technique has great merit.

    15/06/2016 at 23:23 #18119

    Thanks for the great example Anthony.

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