I’m always getting questions from managers about how to sell Lean Startup to their colleagues or boss, and I keep trying to improve my answer. Today I thought ‘Time to pivot to a limerick and test that!’ The limerick:
There once was a founder named Macon
who venture money had taken
He built lots of software,
but users went elsewhere.
And now Crunchbase another statistic is displayin’.
How is that? Does it help?
Beyond that, here are [n] of the other tips I most frequently give to go along with the pitch on Lean Startup:
- Make Sure You’re Clear What It Is
It’s about testing your fundamentally proposition with a minimum of waste, ideally before you build any software at all. The process in the book is ‘Build Measure Learn’. I like to expand it into its main antecedent, the scientific method. I find that more robust. Check out this Lean Startup Tutorial if you’re interested.It does not (just) mean doing human-centered design or usability testing. I see lots of beautifully designed products that no one wants/buys.
- A 1.0 is Not a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Building a 1.0 that has just enough functional content to test your core proposition (or hypotheses) is a great idea. Creating an MVP without any software at all to test that proposition is an even better one. Here are 7 Lean Startup case studies if you’d like some examples.
- The Best MVP’s are Scrappy
And they take about a week to run. If yours takes longer, consider some alternatives to see if they might deliver you better data sooner. If you have a team, get everyone focused on this through a design sprint (see the ‘motivation sprint’ at that link).
- Know the Customer and the Problem You’re Solving for Them
Words are faulty instruments- by ‘problem’ I don’t necessarily mean something a customer would verbalize as a problem. It could be a habit, a desire, a job/task they need done. Make sure you’ve spent some time asking them non-leading questions about that and observing them before you invest in testing a proposition. Testing takes more time and has a narrower focus, and that’s likely to be wrong if you don’t know the problem well. See the Customer Discovery Handbook for some ideas on this progression.
- Use Metrics, Drive Decisions
If you get a decisive negative/pivot or a decisive positive/persevere, you’re succeeding with Lean Startup (and running your innovation project successfully). The only failure more is a result that’s either indeterminate or doesn’t lead to a decision.
Enjoy, and my hat’s off to anyone for posting alternative limerick ideas in the comments.