Where is the star?

13 Jan 2021 | Lean Inception

The Minimum Viable Product. No, the Minimum Loveable Product. No, the Minimum Testable Product. No, Minimum Marketeable Product. No, the Minimum Releaseable Product. No, the Proof of Concept. No, the Prototype.

Many times, as a Lean Inception facilitator, you will have to handle such conversations. And there are many great reasons for each of these terms. A few: here, here, here, here, and here.

The other day I was not running a full Lean Inception. Therefore, I did not have the typical five days, and time to have further conversations. But I still needed to align the group of people on the work items composing that thing (MVP, MLP, MMP, MTP, First Release etc).

So, I had two options: (1) discuss about that thing and align the term to be used; or (2) avoid term conversation and align about the items composing the thing.

I opted for option (2) and it worked really well. Please find the end result below (obfuscated for confidentiality).

Note the diagrams on the right side of the image. Instead of using a term (such as MVP), I used the word “star”.

I started the activity by talking about the “star”. The image helped with that.

“We want that thin slice, that thing in the intersection. Let´s decide the order in which we should work, and then let´s be very clear about where is the star for us.”

Then, on the sequencer activity, I started by asking the group to place the items in the order in which the team should work on them. Once the items were on the sequencer, then I asked: Where is the star?

That worked really well. The team reached an initial alignment and is in better place to go for the next activities and workshops (further detail and planning about the star and whatever comes after it).


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Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of FunRetrospectives.com , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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