MVP and the three little piggies

There were three little pigs that got sent out by their mother to seek fortune. Who doesn’t know the story, I bet only very few are unaware of it. There are many versions of the fable, some the wolf eats the piglets and others where they escape. The version I’m comparing with, the pigs will escape.

The first little pig makes a house of straw, the wolf comes and blows it down. The piggy escapes to his brother.

The two piglets make a house of sticks, the wolf comes again, and although stronger, it’s still being blown over. The two piggies run to their brother again.

The three piglets now make a house of bricks. The wolf can’t blow this down. Instead, the wolf climbs through the chimney and falls into a cauldron. The piglets close the lid and cook the wolf.

If we draw a comparison with a minimal viable product than it fits perfectly. The first two pigs failed fast and hard, but every time delivered a working product.

Each time a product was delivered, the product was tested out and learned that it wasn’t what the customer (i.e. the pigs) needed. In the last design (the brick house), there was even a cauldron installed as the designers anticipated the next thing a user would need.

The main point I’m making is that although the first two were a failure, the pigs kept learning what made their house great. The cauldron gives a good view on how well the piglets knew their target. It knew that if the wolf couldn’t blow it down, or lure it out, it would try a different way of getting in.

That specifically is at the forefront of an MVP. You iterate and you learn, and in the end, you create a product that fits your market perfectly.

If we compare with software development, the traditional way of developing probably would’ve been a castle with a moat. It keeps the wolf out, or any other potentially dangerous target and the pigs would have all they need once it would be finished. The downside would be that the wolf might’ve eaten them already before the piglets even finished building, making the development moot.

Fail fast. Fail hard. Keep learning.