Testing the validity of a business idea in a scientific manner with the minimum amount of effort in a minimum amount of time is what the Lean StartUp is about. Discover more about it in this post!
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What is a Startup actually?
When you are a start up, you are likely to run out of funds way faster than you run out of ideas. As startup, understand “a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty” (Eric Ries). Note that this definition applies to large groups who are tasking some of their units with the challenge to build innovative and successfull products. The Lean Start Up is meant to be used for companies of any size who are looking to test scientifically hypotheses about the value of their products with the least amount of efforts and least amount of time.
What does Lean StartUp actually mean for Agile practitioners?
It means that while working in an Agile manner (e.g. Scrum, XP, Scrumban…), the team(s) should not go for any development, change, feature, etc…under the default assumption that it will deliver value to their stakeholders. Actually, it may not deliver any value at all and therefore waste people’s time and resources.
Instead, the various development of product/services within a team should be conducted as scientific experiments.
Scientific experiments are based on empiricism which state that knowledge comes from observations and experimentations.
Lean StartUp and innovation accounting
Hence, BEFORE starting ANY product development work an hypothesis about its value, its potential (e.g. growth) and HOW to measure it should be created. This hypothesis should be monitored during the course of its development. This concept is called innovation accounting.
If our hypothesis is validated – understanding value is actually delivered as theorized – we can then do more of it and continue with new hypotheses and development. If it is not validated, then we should consider persevering (continue the development with possible modifications) or pivot (move away from this experiment).
This scientific approach in conducting the work should be embedded in a BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN cycle. We BUILD something we made an hypothesis about, we MEASURE if the value and potential in the hypothesis are present and we LEARN from it – i.e. decide what to do for the NEXT cycle.
What we want is to go through those cycles as fast as possible in order to find out what works and what does not for our products/services. The ultimate goal is to test the validity of an idea with the minimum amount of effort in a minimum amount of time.
Learn more about the Lean StartUp methodology
To me, the Lean Startup methodology binds in a practical manner new ways of working such as Design Thinking, Agile and DevOps. The least amount of efforts with the maximum impact is what we are looking for.
You want to learn more about the Lean StartUp?
Start with this speech from Eric Ries (Lean StartUp creator):
You want to go deeper into the Lean Startup, then read the book:
https://theleanstartup.com/book (also available on Amazon)
I hope that above will be as useful to you as it was to me and as usual, let me know for remarks, questions, comments below!
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