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Lean and MVP

Both Lean and MVP are Agile concepts aimed at optimally producing and creating the optimal product. The purpose of both ideas is to optimize costs and waste, as well as to satisfy the customer and user needs.

What is Lean?

Lean thinking is a business idea that aims to provide a way of thinking about how to organize human activities to provide more benefits to society and people while eliminating waste.

Lean thinking comes from Toyota Motor Company, which went from being a bankrupt Japanese carmaker in the early 1950s to becoming the dominant global manufacturer today. At every stage of its expansion, Toyota is targeting new markets for products that are considered relatively unattractive. Still, the organization avoids standard practices and thus seeks to increase the value of its operations and investments.

The company has applied the practice of appointing a unique group of elders (Sensei) and coordinators (teachers from Japan), dedicated to helping the company’s managers think differently.

Toyota’s training focuses on developing people’s thinking skills, not forcing them to perform specialized tasks, and use standard practices, tools, and procedures.

These “sensei” have caused managers to look differently at their jobs.

Some of their teachings focused on the following topics:

You go and see the working conditions first hand and discover the facts for yourself instead of relying on reports and meetings in the boardroom.

The workplace is where real people deliver real value. Respect from managers who support their employees for adding value through ideas and initiatives should be evident.

The imposition of the idea that customer satisfaction is paramount is embedded in every step of the company process. You have to stop at every problematic part, analyze and get to the point where you and everyone around you in the team do not create a defective product and do not accept defective work. The work process stops when things go wrong.

Understanding the cycle time and creating a rhythm. This “rhythm”, whether it is for the production of automobiles or software projects, leads to the creation of stable flows of value, where stable teams work on a stable set of products with stable environments and processes.

Reduction in production sizes. Every traditional business has strong desires for a large amount of work produced. High volume production can lead to waste.

Lean thinking

Lean thinking is trying to optimize the flow of work to meet current demand, not eventual demand in the next period.

By working to reduce time and difficulty in our work, it is possible to get closer to perfect results. In this way, we can dramatically reduce the overall cost of our business by reducing the need for additional costs for outsourcing, fees, procedures, materials, equipment, and more.

Preview work and processes through Kanban. As much as a manager or an operational officer is capable, process failures always occur. To this end, visualizing tasks, jobs, and processes through Kanban can visualize work issues and greatly help everyone’s work.

The search for perfection through Kaizen.

The old Sensei argued that it was not of the highest importance to use tools and standards for each process or activity but to develop the spirit of each employee.

Perfection is not achieved through better, smarter systems or characters, but by a desire to improve performance step by step and together.

Kaizen’s practice is what creates deep and reasonably productive thinking in people’s minds and ultimately leads to complete transformation. Practicing Kaizen on an organizational level increases self-confidence and collective confidence that we can face more significant challenges and solve our problems together.

What is MVP

MVP stands for “Minimum viable product”. A minimum viable product is a product of sufficient functionality to satisfy early adopters of the product and to provide feedback on the future development of the product.

MVP is not rushing to do everything

To create an MVP means that you are not rushing to do everything that comes to your mind or your product or marketing managers have told you, but only focus on the essential concepts initially.

Providing feedback with MVP

Providing feedback means that when you have a minimal product, you will be able to see the reaction of your users and customers. Do they like your product? Is it useful for them or not. On this basis, you continue your research and work.

Gathering initial information about your MVP is often less expensive than developing a multi-function product, which increases the cost and risk of a failed product.

A minimum viable product has enough basic features (or functionalities) for effective initial product launch and nothing more.

Developers usually focus the product on a group of potential customers - such as early adopters, who are thought to “forgive” more minor issues, are more likely to give feedback and can understand the product’s vision from its early stages.

This strategy aims to avoid creating features that customers do not want anyway.

MVP is recreated in cycles

MVP is recreated in cycles, iterations, and repeatability by generating ideas, prototyping, collecting data, analyzing, and learning from the results so far.

The goal is to minimize the total time spent in an iteration. The process is repeated until the desired product is obtained or until the product is considered to be unsustainable.

What are Lean and MVP in Agile product development? Lean thinking
Comments of our guests
  1. Martha Garzon
    As Scrum addresses the topic of product value, Lean thinking, and products following MVP approaches should likely be an important part of the Scrum rules. It is commendable that you have placed these materials as part of your Agile Scrum Master training. Many Agile roles have little or no understanding of these topics. In my opinion, every Scrum team and product should include Lean and MVP rules officially declared.

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