When Minimal Viable Product or Minimal Marketable Product goes wrong (Lazy Agile)

Allot of people in the world, especially in the Agile world use the terms Minimal Viable Product, Minimal Marketable Product (MMP) to talk encourage  people and teams to keep focused on the core value add or the product, yes value add, the product elements that should change the world. The product elements that should shine a light on your vision. Its about doing just enough to get it out the door into the light of day, to meet the customer and see what they really need.

However there seems to be in the world another us of this approach, one that does not go well but people try to hide under the MMP, when the product becomes a rehash of what’s already there, without reformulation or new vision, just a marginal rearrange, no value added, nothing original to stimulate or empower the consumer, just enough to maybe pass as something new to a quick look, but on investigation it rapidly becomes the “Same old, Same old”. This is a disservice to their customer, to their product and most of all themselves. When this happens it fools nobody.

When you build your product, be proud, change the world, bring your vision to the masses, say something worth while, for all of us.

Parkinson’s Law and Agile

One of the greatest threats to performance is a simple element of human nature most often referred to Parkinsons Law. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” there is much more to this law, in order for the work to expand other things must expand also, for the work to expand other elements relating to the work must expand also, complexity expands, capabilities expend.

So here we hit the joys of Agile, Agile uses short focused time boxes in terms of the daily cycle or the longer iteration or sprint cycle. That short cycle, those tight time boxes mean that you only have time to focus on what’s needed, what must happen. you can only focus on the musts (MSCW), so forcing the delivery to be quick, to be focused, elegant and , ensuring absence of waste(no time for extras)  and absence of complexity.

Thus one of the great advantages of Agile is that is specifically addresses Parkinsons Law,  Agile and specifically time boxes  better focus the team. Its better to under deliver (just enough but not to much) than over deliver.

Use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage

Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion

This means that if you reserve a set amount of time to do something then even if you don’t need that amount of time (psychologically speaking) the task grow in size and complexity until it fills the space you have allocated, often you will find yourself running out of time and even over running. This is why you never plan contingency into tasks if you do, you will use it its human nature. So when your planning plan like a realistic optimist, keep a supply of contingency some where close, tell people its there but tell them they have to go through a form of beauty competition to get it.  The beauty competition will be enough to keep people focused and trying ot get things done on time, but knowing there is contingency will encourage people to be braver on there estimates.

Richard Branson – 5 brainstorming tips

Richard Branson – 5 brainstorming tips

Mr Branson does not say anything innovative here but there are town things they sand out, two things others forget but are home truths.

First you want to think outside the box ensure you don’t get in one in the first place, this is much harder than it sounds and can be challenging but is often the key to really great idea. 

Second, define the problem and not the solution, this can be challenging too, this is part of the box problem people run towards the nearest solution they can find, thus putting themselves deep into the box. Use 5 whys and various other techniques to define the problem, then take a bread and go for crazy ideas. 6 thinking hats and think pack are helpful here.