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Minimalist computer on table
A minimalist image of a simple laptop on a table.

Look, this title isn’t all that appealing, but it’s short and to the point. Fellow INTJ’s will appreciate that. I wanted to obfuscate it even more and call this post MBTI INTJ & SME MVPs, but I chose to spare you the trouble. Either way, I’m going to briefly discuss how MVPs, or Minimum Viable Products, have changed my life… in three parts.

Feedback Loops

We all know that each human is prone to mental feedback loops of some type, and a host of other issues. Over at Personality Hacker, they developed what they call a “car” model (yeah, like an automobile) for understanding each of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator “types” and how that intersects with Jungian cognitive functions. My type is INTJ, and my car model (such a fun model, really) indicates that, like everyone else, I have four cognitive functions that are passengers in the car: an adult driver, an adult passenger, and two children in the back seat: a 10 year old and a 3 year old.

Want to take a simple and somewhat accurate MBTI test? I suggest 16Personalities.com.

To make this short, my 10 year old gets into a spiral with my driver. They’re both introverted. The driver is very intuitive and can “read” other people and plot a course 100 steps down the road. The 10 year old checks internally to see how I feel about things. They set off on this journey together to create a perfect world, constantly adapting for the current and future situations and determining just how close to perfect my ideas have become.

The problem is that they completely cut off the fully functioning adult passenger serving as copilot: effectiveness, in my case.

Yeah… the driver and the 10 year old start dreaming a perfect world and completely push the person (adult passenger) who could make any of it a reality. That feels bad, so the 3 year old–who has been ignored to this point–gets his way. He’s an overindulge expert, by the way, and that should explain to many of you my seemingly crazy swings between extremely health focused big weightlifter guy and can’t-get-my-weight-under-control-I-think-my-pants-are-going-to-pop.

Good e-fucking-nuff

Excuse the vulgarity, but it’s important. Besides, you’re an adult… you’ve heard the phrase before, and likely said it yourself. There’s “good enough” which has a somewhat negative connotation, and “good e-fucking-nuff” which is the same level of completion, but with a neutral or positive implication by offsetting the desire for more as a defect of the user, not the product. Dangerous, but useful when applied from a minimalist and utilitarian viewpoint. Anyway, I digress…

When the current concepts of MVPs arrived on the development scene, they seemed little more than what we’ve always talked about on the marketing side of business: prototypes. They’re useful for product development and gathering product feedback, but we never fully released the prototype. It was kept in strict confidence and secrecy under an NDA.

These tech bastards don’t just create a prototype, they release it!

The concept is that market testing is the fastest way to do the non-critical portions of QA. Six Sigma people would have a stroke thinking about this! Yes, release a possibly buggy product to the market. Why? Because it will validate the concept and root out what is actually a bug, what’s actually a feature, and what is missing… plus the prioritization of those three factors in future development.

This has changed my world and helped shed the concept that things need to be perfect or just so before going to market. In fact, I can now get a little rush when slapping together a working prototype knowing I can market validate it. It’s like the oft-ignored adult passenger gets to finally have his moment and tell the 10 year old sensitive me, “Shut the hell up!” and tell the driver, “Pay attention! Keep your eyes on the road!”

Then, and only then, things get done.

Common Sense Nonsense

Some of you reading this may thing I’m being rather obtuse and simply stating the obvious. But, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

Entire generations of business people are trained to make sure everything is perfect, solidly under control, and not subject to any external influence before a project, product, or service can move forward. They are completing years worth of on-the-job training to up-and-coming workers of new generations.

Sure, this MVP concept may be nothing new to the Lean startups or Agile developers out there, but to the rest of the world, it’s down right transformational to know that we can build something, believe in it, and let it exist in the world on its own. To succeed or fail given its merits, customer need, and our ability and attentiveness to nurturing the growth and development as a response to feedback.

It may be common sense now, but to workers all across the world, and all across time even, this has been utter nonsense until now.


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