MVPs and the goverment

Theodorus doesn’t do much. It looks like a boring list of naive ideas 😦

Yes, It’s still an MVP. I should start adding features to it that will make it more robust and useful. The next features to be added will allow users to feedback and comment on topics so it should be more interactive and interesting.

Uh… wait, what’s an MVP?

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It’s the most basic product that can be delivered to the consumer. It might still be useless because it is the idea, or the concept that is being sold here, with the promise that the real product will be delivered soon. An MVP can even be a short video explaining the product asking the users to sign-up for a beta. If the users are eager to use the product, it means the MVP is a success.

MVPs are not for everyone. The general public would like to receive a wholesome product and doesn’t have too much tolerance towards “we’re still working on this feature”. We can think of it this way – some people understand a product better when they look at its interior; or they like to be a part of the creation process as it gives them a true sense of empowerment. While other people don’t care what’s running under the hood as long as it takes them where they want to go. MVP isn’t for the latter, but the more features and capabilities that will be developed, the more appealing it will become for them. It’s important to note that the differentiation isn’t binary so it’s actually really wasteful to wait until you have ALL the feature before you publish the product, because the early adaptors who are willing to accept the MVP can provide you with a very important feedback if you’re on the track to success.

OK, Nice. Can we apply the idea of MVP to politics?

It sounds like interesting mash-up but there’s a critical contradiction between ever-changing goals MVP encourages and solid political agenda. Let’s say you want to sell lemon juice. Before actually producing gallons of juice, you should prepare a single jug and go out to see if anyone wants lemon-juice. Later you can see if and how much people are ready to pay for your product. If at this point you realize people are not interested in lemon juice but prefer lemonade instead it’s ok, because you still haven’t made a huge investment in billboards and signs. You simply turn your product around and get back on the horse. Can a political-body, let’s say a political party, can so easily change its product. Its product is leadership. You cannot really test different leaderships on a small test-group and add more features as you go along.

I think the main problem in this scenario is with the periodical election system, as whatever you product is ready or, you can sell it only once every so and so years. This is the equivalent of preparing all the features set up only to realize the customer would prefer the competitor’s product and a lot of work done for nothing. We could propose another system in which each citizen empowers a legislator and he can choose to change his patronage whenever he is dissatisfied with the product he bought. This might bring insecurity to the legislators and populism as they will be forced to act upon the public’s whims and not the public’s best intention. On one hand you want to provide the regiment some stability while on the other you don’t want to be too permanent…

What about law-making? Can we initialize a minimal law and then expand it?

Funny you’re asking that as one might argue this is actually what Theodorus is for. In real world a law should be thoroughly crafted before being presented for the parliament’s approval. Once passed, it may have a single fine-tuning iteration and then it is called for final approval (total of three passes) to have the law vilified. MVP methodology requires more iterations but it’s impractical as the parliament’s time is (supposedly) very valuable.  If we want to make multiple iterations we can take the decisions off-line (more accurately – not “real-time”). Also, discussing each item, or paragraph, of the law separately can also improve the iterations’ efficiency. So process of making rules and law, where the consumer is the parliament itself is feasible. I wouldn’t, however, extend it to the law’s implications as I fear it would be extremely costly and inefficient to rewrite the law as a common-practice.

Maybe we can break this law into smaller laws and apply them gradually?

This is already done today, having a road-map for a law – just the way you phrased it, but that’s not MVP because MVP must have a learning process and if I have the road-map already set, I cannot fix error I’ll encounter on early iterations. What we can do is to declare a political agenda, or a platform, which is the motives for a set of laws The agenda isn’t a law on its own – rather than a way of thinking or a prioritisation. Once we know what our goal is (for example: “increase student’s grade”) we can try sub-laws (“small classrooms”) and see if they fit the general topic. If not – maybe the sub-law should be changed (“big classrooms, better teachers”) and maybe the agenda should be fixed (“improve education’s quality”)

Every politician has a political agenda, whether it is declared or not, which is his own private political agenda. Politicians should be encouraged to expose their agenda so the people and the parliament  will have the framework to work with and apply it to their actions.

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