Part 2: Allocate as a lesson in a focused, fast, MVP

Last week I shared with you how our unruly scheduling spreadsheet motivated the MojoTech team to build our resource scheduling solution, Allocate

We knew we had to keep Allocate simple--not just because we thrive at building focused apps for our clients, but we really wanted to get off of our bloated scheduling spreadsheet as soon as possible. Allocate was going to solve a painful problem, which made for excellent motivation for sticking to an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Any scope creep would not only balloon our investment in the tool, but also delay the day we could start using the solution we’d been searching for.

We started by defining the problem: managers needed to know who's working on what and when, so that they can easily see our team’s availability, and therefore, more easily respond to new requests from clients. Yes, there were all kinds of useful things that this app could do, too, but we narrowed down the core elements that we needed it to represent: people and projects on a calendar grid. Here's a screenshot that illustrates that core functionality:

Of course, the great ideas for additional features rolled in. We iceboxed just about all of them. MojoTech schedules in full weeks, four weeks out, so Allocate beta features full weeks, four weeks in a view. We kept it lean by solving just MojoTech's problem, and would later build from there.

Four short weeks later, with contributions from across the team, we had our MVP, Allocate beta, and MojoTech enjoyed its benefits immediately. The successful release of a super-focused MVP benefited our group in three ways:

  • MojoTech got to ditch the scheduling spreadsheet(!) and enjoy a much richer view of our most valuable assets--our people!

  • Allocate receives early user data and feedback from all the other agencies (thank you!) trying out the app. Our future customers are telling us what they need.

  • Team members, sitting in the client’s chair for this one, got to experience making the hard, but correct prioritizing decisions.

So, before simply adding features large and small, we're collecting the feedback and usage data that will shape our upcoming releases.

Have some feedback on Allocate? Go ahead and post it here in the comments, or send it on over to

Subscribe to these posts up on the left so that you don't miss out next week. We'll show you how MojoTech uses Allocate to unify our dispersed management team over our weekly team scheduling meeting.

 - Erin Costanzo Cummins

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