Minimum Viable Product – just get out there!

MVP

In a previous post I lambasted bad project management (and really that means bad project managers) for taking interminable time to get projects done, without recourse to what the customer wants, what the organisation can deliver, yet with massive budget cost and time overruns. [How do these people still keep their jobs? … that’s for another day.]

Maybe it’s because I never had any budget for my IT projects that I naturally went the low cost route, building a simple solution that I thought solved a customer problem, and ‘just got out there’ because, well, I had no other option. It also came naturally to me. It made sense. If the customers didn’t like it, I heard quick enough (no visits, bad feedback) and I was able to mould the product or abandon it to start another. Fail fast, fail often. Once I got onto a winning thing, I’d do more of it. Simple really.

The graphic above has been one going around the social networks and encapsulates this methodology perfectly. Would you really invent a car from the wheels up? Of course not. You’d have no idea what you were doing until it was too late. Cars (and transport) evolved through the natural process of trial and error, from the first cave dweller fashioning a boulder into wheels through to the horse/bullock and cart before the motor vehicle  appeared first about 120 years ago. It was an iterative process, and many designs were abandoned.

And so it is with your IT project. Spent as much time as you can pitching to customers (not investors) solving their problems, and find elegant, cost effective ways to crank out something for them to try. Grow it from there, and you won’t be far wrong. The ways things are going these days, businesses that use product-led waterfall type project management will find they cannot compete anyway – they’ll be too slow, too expensive, too unresponsive and will have to go.

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