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  • Afzal Mangal

My mistakes in 2018


The past few weeks many people (including me) shared their highlights of 2018. Amazing and inspiring! Now let's use the second part of this month for sharing our mistakes. I'll start. ;-)


Mistake #1 - I forgot to trust our creative strategist

For a while I was drowned in the agile way of working with refinements, sprint planning sessions, stand-ups and a few other regularly meetings where people give updates on their progress. In these kinds of sessions it is essential that everyone is able to understand each other. But we had a guy in the team that seemed always steps ahead, with somewhat vague futuristic stories. We thought that he wanted to skip steps 2, 3 and 4 to reach step 5. Once, he started a discussion to develop a rewarding system in our community forum. He aimed for a program where users could earn a title like 'expert' or 'king' when they create content of good quality. I got annoyed. Just like some other colleagues. We were worrying about our MVP and this was out of our scope. However, a few weeks later I noticed that the community activities were increasing. Many people started to create good and helpful content for other users. They were saving me a lot of time! But I was not able to send a chocolate bar or a 'thank you' message to each of them anymore. And it is very important to let your users know that you appreciate their help. That's when I understood why my colleague was aiming for a rewarding system. So he was not 2 moves ahead, he was just the only one who noticed a latent need. 


And this is just one example. Many other incidents like this happened. The main learning here is, that we should put more an effort in listening to the creative people and entrust them with a leading position. Creative people are there to design things. Designing means = creating something that doesn't yet exist. That's almost magic.




Mistake #2 - Building a MVP or MMP

We thought that we were smart by working on a Minimum Marketable Product instead of a Miminum Viable Product. We worked very hard to get there. Once we launched the MMP and showed it to our customers, I noticed that something was missing: I wasn't really proud of it yet. We had a product, software, where the customers could order their stuff. And that was it. There were no features to provide the customer some convenience. Those features were all on the 'backlog for later'. A few months later we released a few of these features and now I can shout it from the rooftops. And even my customers tell me that they have a 'wow' experience. While I am looking back at this, I am figuring out that I didn't pay attention when the guys from resoluut.com told me to work on a Minimum Lovable Product instead of the MMP and/or MVP. And I also didn't pay attention when I was reading the blogs from hotjar.com about putting your users in first place. Now I've learned that for defining a MVP and MMP you are basically using your organization as a starting point. But if you want to put your users at first place, they should be the starting point. That's the Minimum Lovable Product.



Of course there were a few more mistakes in 2018... But I learned a lot from these two, so I am happy to share it with you! Hope you enjoyed reading this and cannot wait to hear about your mistakes. ;-)

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