Being a Minimum Viable Product

What happens when we apply agile methodology to ourselves?

As a Professional Scrum Developer and a (formerly) certified Project Management Professional, I have often been forced to consider the concepts and theory of agile software development and apply it to projects. Time after time I have seen the benefits of lean execution, transparency of process, and an iterative process where the end users are brought in on a regular basis.

What about the biggest project of all — ourselves? Each of us, both in our personal and professional lives, are constantly changing. If done intentionally, this change can lead to amazing growth; yet if done haphazardly, we can get easily stuck in a rut, and so often we don't even notice. I think that one solution is to apply agile methodology to ourselves. Consider the principles of agile development as they might apply to a person's life, or any endeavor they seek to undertake.

First, how do we get started learning something? It's all too easy to think "Oh, I'll take this set of classes online, and once I'm finished with that I'll be ready." But ready for what? Will we be perfect then? Rather, it's better to push out a Minimum Viable Product that can get some feedback. For me right now, that product is this website. It's nowhere near close to done, and in fact the more I work on it the more things I start feeling like I need to add. However, I'm pushing it out now to force myself to be ok with this truth:

I will never be perfect.

Too often when we look at social media or other people's websites, it's easy to think "I wish I could be like that." Yet those people didn't get there in a day, and they definitely didn't get there by just thinking. They got where they are today by learning, improving, and iterating, and they know that they still have a long way to go.

I actually had a number of other points planned for this post, but again in the spirit of pushing out the minimum necessary and then iterating, I'm going to stop here for now. Think about a project you've been working on, get the first step out the door, and let's work on it together.