So realistically, how do you limit scope to reach MVP?

Everone always says they want to launch fast, but with one caveat. This first launch must include every single feature their heart could ever desire. If you translate this to backpacking terms, it's like camping with my mom. I love her dearly, but she wants to bring a grill, a queen-sized mattress, and cornhole on the trail. If we carried all of that, we'd all look like this guy on the trail. 

Beedle from Breath of the Wild

Don't carry too much and miss your deadline‍

To keep your bag from getting too heavy, start by setting a weight limit of how much you are willing to carry on your hike. I set a 30lb limit for my backpack. Continuing with the idea that your backpack is your product and items are your features, your team needs to figure out what should go in your backpack. Limiting the items in your bag is like limiting the features in scope. (I like this definition of scope)

Gear for a group of four people

2 Ways to limit scope

When dealing with a product launch, our team has found two ways to limit our scope.

  1. Limit the time: We constrain ourselves to launch a beta version of our product in 6 weeks. With a 6-week constraint, our team is forced to remove things from our first launch.
  2. Limit the things a user can do: This is much trickier than limiting the time. Rather than saying, "My backpack must weigh < 30lbs", you must say, "Staying dry is most important to me". With this restriction, you prioritize a tent and rain jacket over a pillow and bug spray in your bag.

    With a product launch, only allow the user to do 1 thing well. For example: If your product is a calendar app, make sure the user can create event titles for different days.

The Truth about Project Scopes‍

The untold truth about limiting scope is it’s super messy. Articles constantly suggest ways to launch faster. This leads the reader to believe they need only shift their mentality.

That's not true! Limiting scope is difficult and enigmatic. At Sodium Halogen, we find ourselves adapting the scope restrictions with a hybrid of limited time and features to suit each project.

I'd love to hear what you are doing to limit scope!

ps: In the next post, we will discuss scope creep and how to fight it.

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