As someone who majored in Industrial & Systems Engineering in college, the themes in The Lean Startup struck right at home for me. The concept of Lean is centered on value adding activities and reducing everything else. The Toyota Production System (TPS) implemented in the 1990s focused on eliminating waste at the original Toyota manufacturing plant in Japan. Their efficient manufacturing system subsequently became known as the first lean process. While lean methodologies have existed for some time, Eric Ries succeeds in putting an entirely new spin on the concept by applying it to innovation.
The Lean Startup Model
The Lean Startup innovation model focuses on creating a minimum viable product for the market and receiving customer feedback at each step of the way to improve the product. Oftentimes a rough draft of a working product is enough to gain valuable feedback.
The valuable thing about obtaining feedback is that you get an opportunity to hear ideas that would never have been thought of if the project had been refined to death by its developers. What if your team toiled away for years creating advanced software and the finished product doesn’t have the features the customer really wanted? Avoid this mistake by learning The Lean Startup methodology to ensure the final product is as optimized as possible.
Eric also introduces pivots as a means to take a new approach, if necessary, instead of starting over from scratch. This is in contrast to the old way of doing business where a product is launched only when it is fully functional and high quality in the creator’s eyes. Oftentimes, perfectionism can be costly both in time and in money. Eric does a wonderful job outlining how a product (online or physical) can be built and refined from a customer feedback loop.
Not only does The Lean Startup serve as a methodical roadmap for creating your business efficiently and effectively, but also the book delves into startup metrics that will give a new meaning to how you measure your progress. Ries calls this “innovation accounting”. Innovation accounting is a way of looking past the headline numbers such as revenue growth and instead tracking changes in customer adoption, retention and usage patterns.
A successful startup does not just flourish because of a brilliant idea. Success in a condition of uncertainty (in this case innovation) requires managing people through all the challenges of innovation and growth. It means understanding your customer and keying in on statistics that tell the true story of progress. Whether you are a product developer for a company or an executive at a high-tech startup or even a fresh-faced college graduate, this book benefits positions from all perspectives in every industry.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs – in companies of all sizes – a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
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