How long does your team typically spend working between production releases? Do you know that feeling when 3 months have passed since your last release and you think it’s far too long to the next one? You almost forget what the goal is, and although everyone is slaving away, there is nothing that benefits users immediately and so at times the whole thing seems to be in vain...
The concept of developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was introduced by Eric Ries in his book, Lean Startup. Eric suggests that the MVP is the “version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” This is our formula for avoiding disastrous projects, which never get off the ground and stagnate. We ship early and often, enabling our team to test, optimize and retest in controlled, lived environments. Daily releases help us realize a truly agile operating model for our engineering team.
This was not always my experience. Previously, I have worked at different companies where a “high level of agility” equated to one monthly release for production. And that was the best case scenario. The actual release for production was often an entire project in itself, with the release process inevitably causing headaches and lasting days. Annual and semi-annual releases were not unusual in waterfall projects either - which, unfortunately, can still be found in the software industry today.
With that being said, I believe the waterfall model is dead.
The formula for efficiency is clear – compartmentalizing components of a build into digestible deliverables will enable teams to maintain a clearer focus and stay on course with their work. Ultimately, creating more buy-in by individual contributors as they understand their contribution to the great whole.
Developing MVPs can help your team avoid wasting months on what could potentially become a disastrous project.