Technology Assessment in the Era of Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Character Thinking Showing Thought Confusion And Doubt

App developers have fallen in love with the concept of Minimum Viable Product aka MVP.  Wikipedia defines minimum viable product (MVP) as “a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development.”

This development model might make some sense for consumer software or even some business data analytics but how does it work for mission critical software and those apps that allow remote connectivity to those data resources?  MVP is problematic in these cases at best.

Most mission critical software development organizations understand that robust testing is necessary, yet sometimes the specter of the MVP mentality sneaks its camel nose under the tent.  Think this does not happen?  Think again.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 is one current example of this phenomena.  One can argue that the costs to this organization, its customers and the flying public have been astronomical and perhaps not measurable.

Many of us will not be flying any time soon and many months ago this writer has been told by a knowledgeable individual that safe work around for the Max8 software issues have always been readily available—even before the crashes.  There is a more onerous issue that affects everyone on the planet is widely accepted by policy makers.

We extend the construct of MVP to Minimum Viable Thought.  MVT is defined as, “The version of a decision that the decision makers believe will be accepted by organizational executives and public policy makers.”

As of publication, this statement is posted on The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.  “To construct our “Current projection” (the line that shows what we think will most likely happen), we assume that in each location the trend of easing mandates will continue at its current trajectory until the daily death rate reaches a threshold of 8 deaths per million.  If the daily death rate in a location exceeds that threshold, we are assuming that mandates will be reintroduced for a six-week period.”

We do not dispute modelers making assumptions.  We do that same.  However, this caveat.  Decisions made based modeling assumptions such as these often lead to cataclysmic results.

The concept of MVP can be a slippery slope.  In an era of rapid software/data release, the risk to the public whether in airplanes or a pandemic can be huge.

The assessment of such technological solutions needs to be robust and thought through.  Not the knee jerk response often seen.

How do you assure new technology implementation does not material negatively impact on your business?

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