MVP Redefined

Normally, when we speak about MVP, we are talking about a "minimum viable product". That is, a product that has only the most essential features in order to be valuable to a customer. By focusing on this offer, it is possible to get products out to the market faster so to test its underlying assumptions about customer needs and experience.

At the end of _The Dayton Experiment_, we include a simple pattern language to support the cultural transformation of a school district. Originally we planned to develop this pattern language as a follow-on book to the first one. But, as we sat with drafts of that book, we realized that it needed to include more - it needed to have a pattern language.

But we knew that we didn't have the time or, quite frankly, the energy to develop a full-blown pattern language. Typically, it takes Takashi and his team over a year to create a complete language. We had only a few weeks.

So we challenged ourselves to create what could be called a "minimum viable pattern" – an MVP – that held the essential elements, but not the full experience. By creating this language we could launch others quickly.

After studying Takashi's pattern language, we began to discern the patterns in his patterns. Many of them, most notably his masterpiece, a pattern language to write pattern languages, was a fractal pattern of three's – a series of Prime Patterns. It started with three patterns, which each had three patterns that comprised it. Which, in turn, had three patterns. On to a factor of five – that lead to a final set of 243 patterns. When you add all of the patterns together, there were 363 patterns.

We then sat back and thought about what would be the minimum set of patterns that would have an organic vitality – that would be "viable".

We realized that this simplest expression of viability would be \(3^2\) that would create a set of 12 total patterns. That is, we would start with three patterns that would each be comprised of three other patterns. This language would be a framework for, what we suspect, might be a complete language, \(3^3\) patterns, a total of 39 patterns.

So on we went on to define our first three patterns that we explored in _The Path_.

There is no predefined script for the cultural transformation in any organization, much less a school district. It will look different in every school and every community. And know that you are embarking on a wonderful process of emergence that will continually unfold but will, at times, feel quite challenging and messy.