Joshua L. Roberts

Agile / Lean Enterprise Transformation Coach

Minimal Viable Portfolio (MVP)

By Josh Roberts | May 21, 2014 | 1 Comment

Spring is a time for new beginnings! Having just released Kitty Pig, our first iPhone game, my brother is now seeking a full-time job as a Graphic Designer and I have decided to hang my own shingle as an Agile / Lean Transformation Coach. With my first client identified, I will be leaving the comforts of a corporate career to pursue a personal passion. Through this blog, I plan to both share my experiences and to solicit advice from readers like you.

Now, back to my brother’s job search…

As we all have experienced, preparing for a job search can turn into a project itself. It’s natural for us to spend large sums of time updating our resume, organizing our portfolio, updating our social media profile(s), personal website, and more.  After all, we are selling a product that is more near and dear to our heart than anything else; we are selling ourselves.  And, through this process, we all too easily find ourselves committing to a preconceived plan, versus adapting to change.

While some job searches may be more prescriptive than others, many of us could benefit by taking an Agile / Lean approach to our job search; especially those of us in the creative space (e.g. art, music, etc.). Take, for example, my brother and his job search. He has never held a job in corporate America as a Graphic Designer and he isn’t exactly sure what role is the best fit (Web Designer, UX/UI, Illustrator, etc.) or which companies to target. Rather than suffer from “analysis paralysis”, my advice to him was to run a quick experiment; use his connections to engage with the “users” (hiring managers) and get some feedback.

Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is a term that we often hear in the Agile / Lean world. The idea is to build the minimal product for which we can get a return on investment. In other words, attempt to deploy a product with the core set of features and nothing more. By doing so, you will both receive user feedback sooner and accelerate your revenue stream. Could this same approach be applied to my brother’s job search?

mvp_cupcake

To build his product, my brother had a lot of work ahead of him. A Graphic Designer defines themself through their portfolio. He had a few other pieces of art, but the majority of his portfolio was artwork for our game Kitty Pig. Was this artwork enough to land a job? Was it the type of artwork that hiring managers were seeking? Was building a portfolio even his number one priority? My brother had a choice to make.  He could either spend months building what he thought he needed in his portfolio, or get together his minimal viable portfolio to validate what features of himself (the product) were most valuable to the hiring managers.

In the software world, it’s easy for Developer’s to get attached to their creation, or their “baby”. Especially the longer it takes to make that baby. The same concept applies to our personal resume/portfolio… it literally gets personal. And, in the case of an artist, they aren’t exactly open to criticism in the first place. But, if you start with a goal to receive feedback, it’s a whole lot easier to accept it. Not to mention you are making valuable professional connections along the way. And, like the early adopters of a product, those interviewers that see their feedback applied will naturally take a special interest in you. Perhaps even mentor you.

When searching for a job, getting yourself out in the marketplace will most certainly improve your odds. And, who knows, you might land a job with your minimal viable portfolio; low investment with a big pay off. I say put your product on the market!

So, what do you think?  Was this good advice?

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Josh Roberts

Agile / Lean Transformation Coach

– Passionate About Delivering Value!

1 Comments

18 June, 2014 Reply

Excellent idea.

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