How MVP & RDP support eachother…

One of the thing I personally like in agile is a Minimum viable Product

With an MVP you publish a product as fast as possible. Yes even before it is finished. The idea about an MVP is to get fast feedback and not just any feedback, feedback from clients that will use the product.  And for me it also means feedback from all stakeholders.
(Somehow some stakeholders only start looking at a product when it’s in production.)

Now from time to time you will get a client or a stakeholder that when looking at the MVP, he will get angry. Angry because he does not like what he sees. He will feel ignored or worse, he might think that you did it on purpose to harm him. Personally I don’t know any companies that on purpose want to harm their clients.
As a customer, I sure have felt that my suppliers did harm me and in most cases it felt they did that on purpose.
As a coach I advise parties to use the retrospective prime directive. In other words: try to consider that the other party did the best he could with what he knew etc..
But what if they did? For that I advise you to read the wonderfull discussion posted at InfoQ a few years back.

I try to use the RPD in almost every interaction with other people. I say try because it’s hard. And I ignore the RPD from time to time; The moment I when I fail the most, is when I think I see people ignoring the RPD themselves. I can get upset when I see people by default assuming someone else did something on purpose.
Last friday that is what I did when I saw a whole discussion on twitter about an article on the agile alliance website.
I missed the first part of the discussion but what I saw was a lot of accusations that felt totally wrong (as I knew Laurent who wrote the article). I felt bad because I had a big respect for everyone involved in the discussion. And I felt that the discussion was really hard. Now make no mistake, I have no problem with hard discussion. I have a problem when I have the feeling that people attack persons and not actions.
I joined the discussion. I thought I did well,as I stayed calm and tried to explain why I thought Laurent was not such a bad person. I took a while before an elephant came out. David said that he felt that Laurent was acting as everything like the AA before. I realized that I had suspected that a lot was related to a history between David and AA. But I had not said it. In other words, I was not respecting David as the RPD is asking me to do.
When I realized that, I started a private chat with David. Right at the start he said that this had nothing to do for him with the history he had with AA. And I believed him. If he says it’s not related, I trust him for that. Now that the elephant was out of the way,  we could discuss about the. next issue, the one of correcting the article.
I don’t intend to share the private conversation I had.  What is important is that I realized that by me blaming him not to using the RPD, I was doing exactly that. (and then it does ot even matter if I am right or wrong. When I don’t respect him, why would he listen to me? )

Now this is something I see happening a lot at clients. (Or at my home) .
That is why I think the RPD is so important. It does not matter if David was right or wrong. As long as I did not respect him, we could not talk.

One of the anti-patterns, I see that peopele use to avoid hard feedback, is they postpone publishing products, blogposts, documentation etc. They postpone it untill they thing it’s perfect.
I never seen it work. The more it is finished, the harder the feedback will be when something is wrong. And something always is wrong.

I have the opposite reaction:
I publish my blogposts as fast as possible. And I learn from the feedback.
For me, it’s never about the first product or first draft of a book, it’s about the end result.

And yes you and I can find lots of ways how Laurent could have gotten feedback before publishing. I personally think, now he has gotten more feedback then in any other way.
And I’ m sure that this will lead to a better next result. And that is what we are (at least I am) after.

I don’t want the AA to be perfect. I want them to use agile and adapt. And learn fast. The world is changing fast. Also the agile world. If I want to change anything to the AA, I would want them to adapt faster.