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Shifting Sands - Minimum Viable – What is it Really?

For high performing IT providers, the sands are shifting. If you are getting certified in ITIL 4, DevOps, or Agile Service Management you hear that we have to “Think BIG and ACT small!”. Minimum Viable Products and Minimum Viable Processes (MVP) are on the move. Historically, IT organizations delivered products and processes into production with huge batch runs or the big bang approach. This method is fraught with issues, escalations, and constant firefighting. These large releases are tightly managed, governed from the highest levels, and require participation from all parts of the organization. The days of large batch runs that take months to create and war rooms staffed 24×7 for weeks before and after the release, have given way to small incremental deployments.

In comes Minimum Viable Products/Processes: 
High performing organizations know that deployments that deliver value to the consumer fast are required. The idea is not to stage, stage, stage until you have a huge batch big bang deployment, but instead get something that will help your business customers and consumers get the job done now!

This example taken from a recent class that was delivered by the DevOps Campus at ITSM Academy is a great visual. If the goal of your customer is to get from point A to point B, rather than delivering non-usable bits at a time until you get the Cadillac of transportation you could deliver them a skateboard. 


The happy/sad faces indicate that you continue to get feedback along the way and evolve the incremental delivery of value throughout the relationship with your customer. This follows the second way in the “Three Ways of DevOps" and allows for the ITIL 4 Best Practice of embedding continual improvement into your deliveries while co-creating the service with your customer.

Recent DevOps Leader and Certified Agile Process Owner (CAPO) courses (YES! This applies to Process Design too!), introduced these key concepts for creating a Minimum Viable Product or Process that are worth sharing. 

Whether it is a process, product, or software that you are deploying; these questions help you to focus on the type of MVP that delivers value: 
  • What kind of idea do we want to test? What kind of prototype should we build?
  • How quickly can I give it to my customer? How do I listen – focus groups, metrics?
  • What should we track? How do we know we have enough data to adjust course, pivot?
  • How do I keep repeating the process until I get it right?
  • What does the final confirmation look like?
Educate & Inspire!


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