Video: Why we work Lean and how to implement it
What is Lean?
I think lean is about being really ruthless with getting rid of waste. So looking at all the activities you’re doing as a startup, and particularly in product and cutting out anything which isn’t directly adding value to the customer. So nailing in on the bits that are going to get people signing up or hitting the metrics that you need to do and then doubling down on those and not getting lost along the way.
Why is it so important to focus on these Lean principles?
It’s hard not to want to go and do all the other things – but I guess, it’s a really delicate balance – and any startup founder will know it’s the difficulty between spreading yourself too thin across too many different things and then not doing one specific thing well enough to deliver value in. And because there are such a large number of things, you have to be really ruthless about the activities you are going to do and making sure that those are the ones that are going to add the most value so that opportunity cost is as low as it possibly can be.
How to implement lean methodology
There are some great frameworks to help with that, we’re really big fans of the MSCW prioritisation method; Must do, Should do, Could do, Won’t do. And by organising, particularly user stories if we are thinking about this in the context of feature or product options, using that and categorising features by which ones we absolutely have to have, those missing critical ones, and then the less as they go down that order. And then that allows you as a team to agree which are your priorities and then really once you’ve got a team aligned around what’s the priority, it’s very easy to then crack on and get those features shipped because you’re all pulling in the right direction. So that’s a great way of helping to be more lean.
Top tips for implementation
We chatted about this earlier but low-code and no-code options are fantastic for really early stage startups to be able to go out and test a model without investing in tech. And that’s another really strong lean principle; don’t spend money on something until you really have to. So by using something like air table, it allows you to test propositions, get feedback from the market, raise investment off the back of that traction and then invest properly in the tech. Don’t feel that there is a rush to jump straight into building something too elaborate.