In my Lean Inception book
and many presentations, I talk that the MVP is in the intersection of these three main perspectives: the business interest, the users needs and the technical feasibility,
The point is, typically each person look at the MVP (and the problem solution) from their perspective. Which is usually by one prism, either business, user experience or technology.
That’s why you need a Lean Inception, a collaborative workshop following a sequence of activities to help elucidate each perspective. So, at the end, the group can align on a constructive and collaborative view on the MVP.
It is not easy handling different perspectives, and Lean Inception foster a great environment for constructive conflict resolution.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a well-guided process, a good way to look at the different perspectives, the conflict can move to a destructive direction; meaning, the group align on a MVP, but some people feel disengaged in the process. Thus, reducing their participation when it’s time to build the MVP.
You want more than just define the MVP, you want to align people about it. You want to invite different perspectives and opinions, but you must handle it constructively.
“Constructive conflict are defined as those which results in mutually satisfactory experiences of the processes, relationships and outcomes associated with the conflict, for all involved parties” (Deutsch, 1973).
Destructive conflicts are the opposite, in them some participants experiences dissatisfaction with the workshop and the process to decide upon the MVP.
But what determines whether the Lean Inception moves in a constructive or a destructive direction? In other words, what are the conditions and processes that determine whether the different perspectives provide a good environment to define the MVP?
Here I list the top 3 enablers towards a constructive workshop for aligning upon the MVP, a Lean Inception:
1. Make sure you have participants for each of the perspective.
You need people to represent each of these perspectives: business, user experience or technology. If some of these perspectives are not represented, your MVP and the way you go about it will be off-balance. The different perspectives will complement each other, therefore increasing the chances of a great success.
2. Make sure you have enough time to go over the activities on the proposed agenda.
In the book, I recommend a weekly agenda with a sequence of activities. This recommendation comes for running this type of workshop hundreds of times. You need enough time to run several activities from different perspectives before trying to align on the MVP. If you don’t have enough time, chances are you will prematurely define the MVP without having heard and considered all the perspectives. You must make time on everyone’s agenda. Plan accordingly and do not cut it short.
3. Don’t try to prematurely identity the MVP
The Lean Inception workshop last 5 days. Imagine the workshop has just started, and someone tells you that they already know what the MVP is. You will probably hear it a few times during the course of the Lean Inception week. But it is essencial that you do not jump into conclusions too fast. It is important to run all activities before the sequencer, typically on day 4 of 5.
During the sequencer activity, once the Lean Inception participants start putting the features in the order they should be created, then, at that moment, you should ask: where is the MVP?
Please note that prior to the sequencer activity, lots have been shared by the three different perspectives: business, user experience and technology. For this reasons, it’s much easier to talk about the intersection and to find a constructive conflict resolute at this moment. Then it’s time to define the MVP.
Collaborate towards the MVP
Many if not most of the conversations and disagreements that you face during the Lean Inception activities have the potential for satisfying, constructive outcomes for all. Collaborative activities facilitate the constructive build-up of shared knowledge and the ability to find a common ground, which facilitates the decision upon the MVP.
Do you want to be successful with MVP?
Plan, schedule and run a Lean Inception, following the recommended agenda and sequence of activities. Make sure to have representatives for these three perspectives — business, user and technology.