Develop Your Business With Build-Measure-Learn

The Lean Startup Methodology

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Lean Startup

The Lean Startup methodology is a method for developing businesses and products with the aim of shortening product development cycles and is achieved by adopting an iterative build-measure-learn iterative cycle (with a validation of the learn component of the cycle) and investigating hypothesis in a pseudo-scientific process.

Applying Build-Measure-Learn

The Build-Measure-Learn cycle seems a (relatively) simple idea. However, many companies do not make it past their first year and one of the reasons for this can be because their application of Build-Measure-Learn falls short.

There are two such Build-Measure-Learn loops within the following suggested application of this:

  1. The idea (this could come from anywhere)!
  2. Create and communicate the value proposition
  3. Communicate with customers to sketch out important features, and gain feedback from the same
  4. Iterate, iterate, iterate until a value proposition is created that meets customer’s needs and expectations
  5. Proceed to build a prototype (Minimum Viable Product or MVC for short)
  6. Obtain feedback from the customers for the MVC
  7. Iterate, iterate, iterate until a MVC is created that meets customer’s needs and expectations

Build

In this phase a business looks to build the Minimum Viable Product that can be built for assessing the idea that underlies the product idea. The idea behind making this the minimum product is the speed of execution can be fast, not only for validation purposes but to make sure that the competition doesn’t get there first!

However, to be a valuable exercise the problem needs to be defined before any product is built.

Like a scientific experiment, you will need to analyse how data can be collected as well as what you are expecting to prove. In order to do this you will want to think in a simple and small way, and if required consider how to add to the MVP in a stepwise fashion to build up the product and functionality over time.

Technical activities are essential during the build phase, and these include refactoring and unit testing and a natural avoidance of technical debt.

Measure

The data from the build process needs to be analysed, and lessons learnt. The current project should be measured for validity, and the data processed in a logical and coherent manner.

Throughout the measurement phase data will be assessed for accuracy, and held up to the hypothesis and the implications of the data evaluated.

The organisation and presentation of the data is important if the results are to be presented to stakeholders, and in-depth technical understanding of the product at this stage should not be assumed.

Learn

This is the essential point that any startup needs to reach. Is the product viable? Should the product be pivoted to something which has a greater viability?

To persevere or to pivot?

The only way you can sensibly answer this question is by having a hypothesis set in stone, collect data and then interpret that data. The only bravery involved is having the piece of mind to make a potentially hard decision about the viability of an idea after work has taken place

Extend your knowledge

  • Build-Measure-Learn is part of the Lean Startup which is really worth a read

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