April 3, 2017

I Want My MTV: Minimize Time to Value

As a former MTV staffer from back in the music video heyday, I was pleasantly surprised to hear members of our Product Strategy & Design team emphasizing what they call MTV – Minimizing Time to Value. It’s part of our Product Mindset at 3Pillar Global .

Why Should I Care?

Developing a Product Mindset has many benefits to you and your business. If you are a product owner, you can quickly show your corporate leadership value in the investment. If you are a developer it helps you broaden your skills beyond just writing code or creating a design. You’ll also bring a business focus, or even just the ability to understand the business impacts of what you’re developing, to your organization.

Build for Outcomes

Building for outcomes means we understand customer and business needs so every decision, technical or design, is made with the business and customer in mind. We do this using a mix of agile, lean startup and design thinking methodology.  We like to say “we’re not writing code, we’re building a business.”

Excel at Change

This includes continuously learning and rapidly adapting to not just changing requirements but larger business, market, and customer needs. It means being willing to change or abandon work, and working in a way that keeps the cost of change low.

Minimize Time to Value (MTV)

Minimizing Time to Value means we put the solution to a customer’s biggest problem in their hands quickly. It’s about making something consumable and valuable. It’s consumable because if your CEO asks what you’re working on in the elevator you can hand them your phone with a test app that has the latest release on it. It’s valuable because the CEO can see the how one of the most important features works and give feedback.

What does this “look like” in practice? For one of our clients who’s in the advisory and management consulting space, this meant running a series of 1-week development sprints to build a mobile product they are using to deepen their relationship with their customer base.

For PBS and their new PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, this meant that they needed to focus on their business goal of providing educational programs to as many children as possible. PBS built a live-stream of the broadcast multicast channel that is accessible through multiple apps and web players, and was launched at the same time as the multicast channel. Once that was built, they could then focus on tools and enhancements to allow member stations to personalize the live-stream, and to incorporate games that support the content, and engage their viewers on the live-stream.

MTV is not MVP

Minimizing Time to Value (MTV) does not necessarily equal a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). An MVP is a thing – a small release so you can validate your idea and learn about your customer. MTV is an idea that we should always be implementing to create value for the business and the customer.

Minimizing Time to Value is the opposite of the famous MTV: Music Television slogan “Too much is never enough.” By thinking big but building small, you’re able to gather feedback on your solution more quickly. It means temporarily putting the moonshot goals aside to focus on what’s important “right here and now…It means everything” (thanks Van Halen).