You might have read Eric Ries’ book ‘The Lean Startup’ and even apply his principles in practice.
This is the first part of the 2-series article about the smart lean ideas for business development.
But do you apply them to every single activity of product development – from the sprout of your idea to picking its fruits and beyond?
Few people and companies do. The other ones, somewhere on the way forget to think lean, thereby to invest less time, money and efforts.
For those who are not acquainted with the lean method, we shall summarize the concept in several words – maximum results with minimum efforts.
Eric Ries also popularizes the idea of minimum viable product (MVP):
“A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
It means to build the smallest possible version of a product in order to inform potential customers of its existence, to receive their feedback and, in addition, to identify/create the need for this product.
Apply the lean approach to the MVP development itself.
An MVP should be build as quickly as possible since it will be tested and evaluated by customers, not by the team of its developers. There should be a balance between effectiveness and efficiency. Goals should be achieved with the least waste of team’s time and efforts.
Many companies develop their MVP far beyond necessity because they are afraid that otherwise it would not look professional.
They spend too much time on applying heavy makeup on their MVP, forgetting that whatever they do, they cannot be liked by everybody.
If somebody buys a beautifully wrapped product, opens it and finds a small wooden stick that is completely useless, will he/she buy another product from the same company? The conclusion is that in the long run, visual aspects do not matter.
content is all what matters.
Do you think that Google needs makeup and cares about its outward appearance?
How about conducting a brainstorming before building a product or MVP?
However, it turns out that brainstorming frequently goes beyond efficiency, if we calculate the amount of resources involved.
Sometimes companies conduct long strenuous brainstorming sessions only to return to the initial idea.
Josh Linkner even proposes a new approach called EdgeStorming. It means to ask your team to fire their imagination and think of the craziest idea about the product they can come up with.
Just give them the task and leave them alone. You will be surprised by the results!
Another approach to MVP development – simple questionnaires.
It is easy, cost-effective, and customers’ feedback is more valuable than your assumptions. Therefore, you can achieve the following 3 goals at once:
First, you can identify and understand customer needs, which will enable you to be more responsive and tailor your MVP to them.
Second, you will inform your prospects about the forthcoming product.
Third, you may obtain an additional insight into the value you can deliver to your customers.
Many people and companies have not realized yet that modern business requires less effort and investments. Ask your potential customers for their needs, then assess the value you can provide to them, and finally, create a product with a value you are sure about.
Do you follow the lean method? What have changed since you do it? Or maybe you have some private experience on that topic to share?
Let me know in the comment section below.