Friday, 14 August 2015

How can we get people to have an experimental mindset?

Last week was Agile 2015 and I couldn't miss it! As Jake Calabrese says, it is "summer camp" for agile adults

On Thursday, I had my session where I co presented with Cheezy (Jeff Morgan) : What's my MVP?
I am particularly passionate about the art of building products. I mean it, it is an art. There is a variety of variables to consider and a lot of experimentation to run in order to come up with the product we want and the roadmap to evolve it.
I enjoyed the presentation and the discussion. There was only one question that I felt I didn't address as I would have wanted to, so I will do it now.
Question was from Stephen and, it came after I said something around the need for an experimental mindset in an organization. He asked "How can we get people to have an experimental mindset?" I made fun saying "We force them, we beat them up :)... NOOOO.. requires some coaching". Cheezy also added "Slowwww". Now there is more to add here.

I don't think MVP is an agile/lean transformation tool. For people that do not have the experimental mindset, we have a bigger problem than getting them to figure out the MVP.

They are not ready for this.
First, they need to go through the path of dealing with failing and learning from it, need to get into the incremental and iterative way of working, need to learn how to break work into smaller chunks, need to understand how to focus to a user(small group) at a time, need to learn how to take feedback as a gift not as a punishment, and most of all, need to be comfortable with delivering often.

Can someone have an experimental mindset without knowing about the long list above?
Maybe, but I doubt it. You might not know the names and the order of the things above, but you might do them naturally. You might not be aware of agile development but you are on environments that support this way of working without calling it Agile.

So to get someone that doesn't have experimental mindset to work with you on figuring out the MVP, it will take some time and it will take some coaching/mentoring/hands on/pairing with someone that has this mindset. And it will not happen over night.

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