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MVPs For MVPs: Minimal Valuable Products, To Learn From Our Most Valuable Players

While the concept of "minimal viable product" is commonplace in software development, Blackbaud has taken the approach of "minimal valuable product" with its features for Raiser's Edge NXT. MVP development enables you to take advantage of core functionality sooner, with Blackbaud continuing to evolve the feature in quick succession based on usage and feedback from the true MVPs — that's Most Valuable Players — like you!
Previously, Blackbaud would introduce features at regular intervals, such as through quarterly or annual releases. Based on this longer cycle, features would often start with robust functionality out-of-the-gate, the result of many months or years of development. Sometimes, however, these features fell short or missed the mark — and, depending on how big a miss, it wouldn't be until the next scheduled release before they could improve. For Raiser's Edge NXT, Blackbaud now releases features and enhancements continuously, on an ongoing basis. This enables you to begin to use features starting with their core functionality (their minimal valuable product (MVP)), followed by iterative enhancements. How a feature evolves from its MVP and through its additions and iterations is based on its planned roadmap and — more importantly — learnings and ideas from usage and experience. 

330046484acc897ad27972311557e0ed-huge-emFor example, take the development of Email. With Email, you create responsive email communications directly in the web view. In its initial release, you had pretty basic Email functionality:
  • Choose from a number of basic out-of-the-box layouts, or design your own using a new drag-and-drop interface.
  • Craft targeted email content and manage communications in various stages of development.
  • Track the success of sent messages.
However, Email then continued to evolve with iterative enhancements, including new best practice templates, additional merge fields, automatic consent tracking, and deeper recipient analysis. Email still continues to evolve in real-time, with recent additions ranging from a new font to a richer email designer interface — all based on a mix of planned iterations and specific requests, ideas, and learnings from those using Email. With this iterative development, you can take advantage of core functionality that grows over time, rather than wait for a robust feature set or solution. For example, while you use the continually evolving Email, Blackbaud can also focus on the MVP for other key online fundraising and marketing features such as the upcoming Donation Forms!

And, at the heart of MVP? MVPs like you. The opportunity to learn directly from your experience and make adjustments to the feature or its intended evolution in real time is the key reason for MVP development. As you start to work with the features — minimal valuable or otherwise — introduced in Raiser's Edge NXT throughout the coming months, be sure to discuss your thoughts and share your ideas in the Community to help guide their development!
Posted by Steve Stegelin on Apr 11, 2019 8:28 AM America/New_York

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Steve, thanks for this. I do hope that future SKY-driven products like Next Gen Email and Next Gen Donation forms have - at a minimum - at least as much functionality as the previous-generation tools they will eventually replace. I would love to see the ability to add appeals to Next Gen Email recipients the way you can with OLX. I would also love to be able to use all the data that is in our various Blackbaud systems -- being able to send pledge reminders electronically with the pledge balance not only listed in the email, but also embedded in the URL to the Next Gen Donation form to pre-populate with that amount (along with their name and address - which the Next Gen Email system also has) so all the donor has to fill in is her credit card information -- or, pray G-d, use their Apple Pay / Google Pay / Samsung Pay / Venmo / Stripe / Digital Wallet Payment of choice for ease of processing - features like that are what would be truly valuable. 
  • Posted Mon 15 Apr 2019 01:44 PM EDT
Great information!  I love being involved and the evolution of the product.
  • Posted Thu 09 May 2019 09:42 AM EDT