MVP Your Morning Routine

Apply Agile to your morning to make time for the most important stuff.

credit: Trello Blog

As a software product manager, I’m a big fan of the power that Agile has given me to get important things done in a predictable, scheduled and flexible way. Sometimes I even think about the concept of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product, or the core solution to a problem) as it could apply to other parts of my life, so I decided to apply it to my morning routine.

First, I defined the problem: Im often late getting out of the house because, as I get ready for work, I find and do a million other things, causing me to leave later than I’d like to and not make time for writing blog posts and doing coding lessons. These extra tasks were cutting ahead of the most necessary tasks I needed to complete, just like how feature creep can blow out any other project schedule.

Now that I’ve defined the problem, let’s look at the steps we can take to try to solve it.

  1. Set goals.


  1. Leave the house by 9am.

Set a budget: How much time do you have to devote to this every day?

  • If I leave the house at 9am, I have a budget of about an hour if I’m up and back from my run (if I’m taking one) by 8am.

Define a solution, or MVP (Minimum Viable Product). These are the things that are absolutely necessary.

  1. Shower.

Acknowledge other nice to haves. These are likely items that currently distract me along the way to getting out the door. I’ll have to work to not touch these until all the MVP items are complete.

  1. Clean up after breakfast and clean out the coffee maker. These are pretty high in the P2 list, since it’s certainly not fun coming home to a messy kitchen after work.

Scope the MVP. How long will the core features of this solution take to complete? Right now it looks like my core MVP items are taking up my full hour.

Total: 58–61 minutes total

  1. Make coffee — 3 min

Prioritize the nice-to-haves (aka P2 features) so that once I’ve knocked out the core MVP morning items first, you have the ability to intelligently add other tasks in any extra time remaining. It looks like my budget is full, but there’s always a chance I’ll get up earlier, take a day off of running, take a faster shower or take the dog on a shorter walk (if it’s raining).

  1. If you’re making time to write or learn a new skill or hobby, prioritize that here. Even if you can only give it 15 minutes a day, it’s nice to use your morning brainpower on something for yourself, and you’ll be glad you did a year later when you have close to 100 hours under your belt. This is where I try to get in a coding lesson or brainstorm some blog post ideas.

Product management consultant, helping founders get ideas built. Lover of efficiency, dogs, bikes, plants, cooking, nachos and feminism.