The Daily Standup
Episode 294

You NEED a Minimum Viable Day... Or Weekend

AgileDad published on

Join V. Lee Henson, President and Founder of AgileDad as we review what a MVD is and how we can achieve one! 

The 5 P's of the MVD: 

1. Be clear about the purpose

Understand the purpose of having a minimum viable day, and keep this in mind at all times.

Here are some key qualities that make up the MVD:

  • Delivers some value: Achieve some small things that count as a win. Gain some rest time.
  • Lean: Do the absolute minimum. Prioritization is key (see below).
  • Shipped: Do the day and get through it. Don’t give up.
  • Insightful: Use it as a learning exercise. Be curious, even if you don’t feel like doing much else.

2. Prioritize (ruthlessly)

As in product management, you have to be ruthless at prioritizing your deliverables in the minimum viable day. The key to success here is using the MoSCoW principle. 

So, what does this mean in practice? Essentially, for your MVD, you want to focus only on the must-have actions/outputs that you absolutely must do to prevent chaos from breaking out.

Here are some suggestions for “must have” things to do on your MVD:

  • Send your most important emails.
  • Do that one big meeting that you absolutely cannot postpone.
  • Bake in some self-care must-haves as well. I would advise walking, stretching, or eating a cake.

Here are your “won’t have/won’t do” items:

  • Literally anything that can be done tomorrow instead.
  • Beat self up.

3. Postpone anything that can be done tomorrow

As mentioned above, it’s important to be clear about what can be postponed to another day. For high performers like yourself, this might feel a bit uncomfortable. But remember, we’re on an MVD here.

  • What can I do tomorrow/next week, when I gave regained my energy?
  • Who do I need to be honest with about how I’m feeling today so they can help me move a few things off my plate?
  • Who could stand in for me?
  • What can be binned off altogether that I shouldn’t have been doing anyway? (This one’s a goodie.)

4. Measure performance based on your original objectives

Do not be tempted to measure your day based on different success measurements than the ones you set out:

  • Did I do the day?
  • Did I not kill anyone?
  • Do I feel okay?
  • Can I do tomorrow? (That is, did the product — you — not fully break and fall over so that we can iterate tomorrow?)

5. Ponder: Reflect, be curious

In product management, the purpose of launching a minimum viable product is to learn from customer feedback and iterate on it in the next release. Once the product is launched and the feedback is in, product managers will analyze and brainstorm on what the data means for future development.

In your minimum viable day, it’s valuable to use the time to ponder—that is, to be curious and reflect:

  • Maybe use some of the day to be reflective about why you’re feeling run down and how you can avoid anxiety days in the future.
  • Maybe reflect on what’s going well and what you might want to achieve the rest of the week if you feel up to it.
  • Maybe reflect on what you want to achieve longer term and which priorities you want to adhere to (the MoSCoW principle for life).

Journaling. Meditation (basically just put on a timer for 10 mins and close your eyes and breathe). These are your friends today.


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