Showing all articles tagged: lean-startup

Canvas ... Lean

"Lean Startups" are in vogue right now ... gotta be better than a "Fat Startup", right? Jim's 2 cents ... I prefer a "Right Startup" ... just the right ingredients, resources, team, et al. Of course, waste not want not. But keep in mind that "under-resourced" ventures are high on the list of ventures most likely to fail. Do a good job of determining what you do and don't need to get your venture launched and stable!

This lean startup canvas (as well as the original business model canvas, and other tagalongs) are basically checklists ... a list of 9 items key to a successful startup. But they are only 9 out of literally hundreds of variables that come into play! I am insanely jealous of the original authors that thought of putting a checklist into a nice graphical form (the canvas)! Instantly recognized for what it is by lots of folks in the entrepreneurship and innovation communities.

Lean Startup Terminology

Minimum viable product
A minimum viable product (mvp) is the "version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort" (similar to a pilot experiment). The goal of an MVP is to test fundamental business hypotheses (or leap-of-faith assumptions) and to help entrepreneurs begin the learning process as quickly as possible. As an example, Ries notes that Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn wanted to test the hypothesis that customers were ready and willing to buy shoes online. Instead of building a website and a large database of footwear, Swinmurn approached local shoe stores, took pictures of their inventory, posted the pictures online, bought the shoes from the stores at full price, and sold them directly to customers if they purchased the shoe through his website.Swinmurn deduced that customer demand was present, and Zappos would eventually grow into a billion dollar business based on the model of selling shoes online.

Continuous deployment (only for software development)
Continuous deployment, similar to continuous delivery, is a process "whereby all code that is written for an application is immediately deployed into production," which results in a reduction of cycle times. Ries states that some of the companies he's worked with deploy new code into production as often as 50 times a day. The phrase was coined by Timothy Fitz, one of Ries's colleagues and an early engineer at IMVU.

Split testing
A split or A/B test is an experiment in which "different versions of a product are offered to customers at the same time." The goal of a split test is to observe differences in behavior between the two groups and to measure the impact of each version on an actionable metric.

A/B testing can also be performed in serial fashion where a group of users one week may see one version of the product while the next week users see another. This can be criticized in circumstances where external events may influence user behavior one time period but not the other. For example a split test of two ice cream flavors performed in serial during the summer and winter would see a marked decrease in demand during the winter where that decrease is mostly related to the weather and not to the flavor offer.

Actionable metrics
Actionable metrics can lead to informed business decisions and subsequent action.[1][24] These are in contrast to vanity metrics—measurements that give "the rosiest picture possible" but do not accurately reflect the key drivers of a business.

Vanity metrics for one company may be actionable metrics for another. For example, a company specializing in creating web based dashboards for financial markets might view the number of web page views[20] per person as a vanity metric as their revenue is not based on number of page views. However, an online magazine with advertising would view web page views as a key metric as page views are directly correlated to revenue.

A typical example of a vanity metric is 'the number of new users gained per day'. While a high number of users gained per day seems beneficial to any company, if the cost of acquiring each user through expensive advertising campaigns is significantly higher than the revenue gained per user, then gaining more users could quickly lead to bankruptcy.

A pivot is a "structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth."[1] A notable example of a company employing the pivot is Groupon; when the company first started, it was an online activism platform called The Point.[3] After receiving almost no traction, the founders opened a WordPress blog and launched their first coupon promotion for a pizzeria located in their building lobby.[3] Although they only received 20 redemptions, the founders realized that their idea was significant, and had successfully empowered people to coordinate group action.[3] Three years later, Groupon would grow into a billion dollar business.

Steve Blank defines a pivot as "changing (or even firing) the plan instead of the executive (the sales exec, marketing or even the CEO)."

Innovation accounting
This topic focuses on how entrepreneurs can maintain accountability and maximize outcomes by measuring progress, planning milestones, and prioritizing.

The Build–Measure–Learn loop emphasizes speed as a critical ingredient to product development. A team or company's effectiveness is determined by its ability to ideate, quickly build a minimum viable product of that idea, measure its effectiveness in the market, and learn from that experiment. In other words, it's a learning cycle of turning ideas into products, measuring customers' reactions and behaviors against built products, and then deciding whether to persevere or pivot the idea; this process repeats as many times as necessary. The phases of the loop are: Ideas –> Build –> Product –> Measure –> Data –> Learn.

This rapid iteration allows teams to discover a feasible path towards product/market fit, and to continue optimizing and refining the business model after reaching product/market fit.

Definitions popularized after The Lean Startup

Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management template invented by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur for developing new business models or documenting existing ones. It is a visual chart with elements describing a firm's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. It assists firms in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.[30]

Lean Canvas
The Lean Canvas is a version of the Business Model Canvas adapted by Ash Maurya specifically for startups.[28] The Lean Canvas focuses on addressing broad customer problems and solutions and delivering them to customer segments through a unique value proposition.

[Attribution: Wikipedia] 2.09

Jim Jindrick

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