So I’ve been working on a project where the underlying tone of the team is to get the minimal viable product released on time. The idea being that we strip out waste and get the basics in there so that it can be released in a timely manner and then we use that to build from as we progress with iterational releases of more functionality.
My problem though, is that a “minimal viable valuable product” that is built with quality in mind is increasingly being replaced with a “minimal viable product” that has no real focus on quality or stakeholder value. The focus seems to be on the looming deadline.
There is definitely an attitude of “lets get the product released and we can deal with any bugs and problems later…” in the air.
So, how do we get around this?
Problems like this definitely highlight how important teamwork is. There is no place for the “them vs us” mentality any more, or for the “teams within teams” attitude. This is detrimental to the product and instigates such problems like I’ve described above.
We need to be unified as a team, with the same idealisms. This can be difficult at times, hence why other key skills required in the team are communication, negotiation and influence skills.
Negotiation is key in being able to determine how much is enough, when it comes to that minimal viable product. We need to communicate the risks and discoveries with the product owner and the stakeholders for their input on this too.
And talking about teamwork, this also breaks into the realms of hiring the right people. These days, there is a huge focus in interviews to try to employ people who you know will be a good team fit. And rightly so! I don’t believe there is space in today’s agile world for team members to be “individual players” who don’t think they need to consult with anyone else on the team about anything.
In fact, the opposite most certainly has to happen… Everyone has to be involved with discussions about the product from the start, in discussions about the development and testing requirements, in discussions about what constitutes as value to the stakeholders and what constitutes as minimal for this concept of an MVP. We need to be able to work collaboratively and be open to sharing and receiving opinions and suggestions on our processes and methods of building a valuable product as a team.