Minumum Viable Product

As an Agile Coach working in a large organisation I noticed that we were all using the term MVP (Minimum Viable Product) in ways that Eric Ries would find incredible, but not in a good way! After reading The Lean Startup, a movement created by Eric Ries, I wanted to change the way our organisation thinks about a Minimum Viable Product.

The way we were using the term was centered around making a really large project just a tiny bit shorter, or reducing the scope a bit.

In my opinion there are multiple reasons why large organisations create this habit:

  • Failing is not an option; having a real MVP means we don’t know what we don’t know and we will probably fail, so we learn what we should do next;
  • We are still used to think big. There is nothing wrong with thinking big, but we assume our customers have the same (big) picture. So we don’t need an MVP;
  • If we introduce our truckload of changes, requirements etc. for a project and we then determine an MVP, we know that IT will build at least that. It’s the minimum, right? We don’t settle for less;
  • We’re not a startup. Startups use MVP’s. MVP’s for large organisations is bs….

That is why we started an MVP campaign!

I truly believe that when we all are able to truly think Minimum Viable Product, we reduce waste and start learning, we create better products and services for our customers!

Our campaign started with talking about this topic more often. We spoke about MVP in an Agile Café (an informal meeting discussing Agile topics, sort of an Open Space).

After that we created this short videoclip explaining the true identity of an MVP.

And finally we held a workshop about MVP so we could let people experience what happens when you develop products using MVP’s (learning as you go) or just listening to a Product Owner having a predefined backlog, not talking to any customer.

Of course we used our video in the workshop also 🙂

In a couple of weeks I will blog more about what we did in the workshop and what Agile Game we developed to give our colleagues the experience of developing a real MVP!

Stay tuned!!

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