Skip to main content

Lean Startup

The following are my initial thoughts on "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries - before I had read the book. I have read the book since then, and will post a detailed review later.

I'm the founder of Agile Entrepreneurs. I started Agile Entrepreneurs in 2006 to share my lessons -failures more than successes, but also successes built upon those failures - with my fellow bootstrapping entrepreneurs. We had a few initial hiccups, we really got going in 2007, and over the next several years, nearly every Friday evening I sat in a room with a variety of entrepreneurs with only one thing in common - they were all bootstrapping founders of hi-tech startups building products. None of them had anything more than a polite interest in each others' companies, but they were all bound by empathy for each other - they were bound by our motto: "Make Your Own Mistakes, Learn From Mine". I had - and have - plenty of lessons to share, the two most fundamental of them being: (a) Go talk to your customer before you build anything (a.k.a. don't waste time raising and spending money); and (b) apply Agile principles for Product Management, Engineering & Project Management.

A few years later when people started talking about the "Lean Startup" movement, "Minimum Viable Product", "Customer Development", and "Demo Day", and "Bootstrapping" became sexy again, I sensed that entrepreneurship had gone mainstream. In fact, it has proven to be worse (or better, depending on how you view it), it has become a fad, it has itself become the "product" of this new "dotcom" era ... where money is cheap and engineers are expensive and launching a startup is easier than getting a job.

So, I can't agree more with this review of "The Lean Startup" on Amazon. Because "Lean Startup" offers nothing new to those of us who have learned all this by experience and experienced this through common sense; yet it is great packaging and a useful vocabulary - if you want to sell these self-evident lessons to the enterprise which has lost touch with the ground realities of customers and users.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Splitting User Stories vs. Rally's "split" feature (that has nothing to do with it!)

Agile tool Rally has a "split" feature it recommends to handle "unfinished work" in a Scrum Sprint: Manage Unfinished Work - Split user stories ( new link ) Below are my observations on the "Split" feature in Rally (followed by a few excellent articles on Splitting User Stories):   This "split" feature in Rally has numerous problems: 1. Nothing to do with Splitting User Stories It has nothing to do with "Splitting a User Story" which is an advanced but fairly well-understood field in Agile, and a tool for Product Managers to use in one of the two scenarios: The Product Manager does it before an Iteration commences (i.e. during backlog creation or release planning) to create User Stories by business value that are right-sized, i.e. they can be comfortably implemented inside an iteration; The Product Manager does it in Iteration Planning or in the middle of an Iteration to reduce scope by removing/simplifying accept

Venture Quotes for a softening economy

Guess who said the following? "There's a lot of hot air and arrogance in the (VC) business that we all would be better off without" "...useless pontificating in front of entrepreneurs working harder than (VCs)..." "...VCs who constantly speak of deals and projects , reveal their self-interest and slight the labor and dreams of the entrepreneurs" If you think it's some disgruntled entrepreneurs who don't "get it", think again. In the past, I've made some pretty strong but heartfelt things, and I could have said the above, but I didn't . Read on here to learn who uttered these pearls of wisdom.

User Stories: you're not Agile without them

Failure to effectively transition to Agile development is often based on a fundamental failure to understand what a User Story is. Allow me to explain. The most important aspect of a User Story is that it's an independently *schedulable* unit of requirement (feature). The key to achieving the "independently schedulable" characteristic of a user story is that you express it in terms of how a "user" would use it. This leads you to a unit of functionality that's implemented end-to-end (UI to backend) that a user can actually interact with. Not surprisingly, because of the focus on how a user would think about a feature, a user stories are highly readable - and could very well be written by the users themselves. However, the other important and less obvious aspect of a User Story is the emphasis on communication with the end-user and getting confirmation on the acceptance criteria. Describing all the requirements as User Stories for a decent sized product is