The godfather of Lean Startup, Eric Ries inspired many entrepreneurs to startup their companies according the Lean Startup methodology. Out there is a big community with Lean Startup fans who develop the method and make it practical usable.

An inspiring entrepreneur is Ash Maurya. He managed to write a book with a very practical guideline to work according the Lean Startup methodology. He was able to refine Lean Startup, eliminate some elements that are not practical and explained how he wrote the book according the Lean Startup method.

Running-Lean

The book is called “Running Lean“. For me personal it was like I am already working according this method for the last 10 years and now Ash wrote it down for me as a daily guideline.

I would strongly recommend to read the book yourself. In this blogpost I already filtered some practical tips and tools from the book.

The Lean Canvas
The Lean Canvas is an adapted version of the Business Model Canvas from Alex Osterwalder. It is the ideal way to document and validate your plan. Every phase of the process you adapt the Lean Canvas till have Product/Market fit and you can scale your business.

Within the Lean Canvas you can prioritize product-, customer- and market risks. You define this as follows:

  • Product risk: getting product right
  • Customer risk: building a path to customers, solve their pain with your product and make your customer to “buy” it.
  • Market risk: building viable business, make the business scalable and sustainable.

More links about Lean Canvas:

Effective experiments
Building a Lean Startup is an Agile process focused on the Build/Measure/Learn validated learning loop. Keep the cycles as short as possible. But not only speed is important. You need to maximize for speed, learning and focus to get the best result.

If you “forget” to use one of the elements you will get the following problems:

  • Only speed-focus: When you are focussed but not learning, the image of a dog chasing its tail comes in mind. You are expanding a lot of energy but simply going around in circles.
  • Only focus-learning: When you focus on the right thing and learning but you are not moving quickly enough, you stand the danger of running out of resources or getting outplaced by a competitor
  • Only speed-learning: Finally, when you are going fast and learning but you are not focused enough you can fall in the premature optimization trap. Some examples are scaling your servers when you have no customers, an optimizing landingpages when you don’t have a product that works.

Source: Running Lean, 2nd Edition (O’Reilly). Copyright 2012 Ash Maurya, 978-1-449-30517-8

Kanban board
For those unfamiliar with Kanban, it is a scheduling system that was designed by Taiichi Ohno, father of the Toyota Production System, and is a way for visualizing the flow of work. It has more recently been adapted for software.

A Kanban board is to feature tracking what a Conversion Dashboard is to metrics tracking. Both let you focus on the Macro. (source: ashmaurya.com)

Kanban-Ash-Mauraya

How to track features on a Kanban board:

  • Goals: List your immediate goals and priorities (focus) on the Kanban board.
  • Work in progress limits: The work in progress limit is shown in the header row. It is typical for larger teams.
  • Buffer lanes: Each process is divided in 2 parts. The top section is used for features “under work” while the button section is the buffer for completed tasks that are waiting to be picked up.
  • Features that can be killed at any stage
  • Continious development: Commit-Test-Deploy-Monitor
  • Two-phase validation: Only qualitative testing is declared as “done”

The steps (lanes) in the process:

  • Back-log: customer pulled requests + internal requests
  • Mock-up
  • Demo
  • Code
  • Partial roll-out + Validate qualitatively
  • Full roll-out +Verify quantitatively

Source: Running Lean, 2nd Edition (O’Reilly). Copyright 2012 Ash Maurya, 978-1-449-30517-8

In future I will write more interesting tips and tools from the book so keep following my blog. Or if you can’t wait then better to read the book. It is worth your time…

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