For anyone who wants to wrap their mind around the Lean Startup Methodology, read the summary written by Eric Ries.
Just last week I was telling my boss that Continuous Integration is the foundation for delivering software multiple times a day.
Now, Raj Indugula provides us with an exquisite explanation of Continuous Integration. Thanks Raj.
Eric writes about the Minimum Viable Product, reinforcing the importance of creating a prototype, showing it to customers, and getting the customer's feedback. In Eric’s story, the team wants to perform customer development throughout the development process so they can create a great product.
The team asked one question that focused their experiments: “What was the maximum amount of learning we could get in the shortest amount of time?”
We now know our biggest risk isn't getting the software built, but validating that there are customers out there that want our product, and can use it. I'm going to call that stuff product discovery.
Eric Ries writes a primer for the Minimum Viable Product.
Eric provides a case study and shows what I've experienced working with MVPs. People are afraid to put out a product that may lack features. Guess what? Real artists ship and learn from customers.
Eric also provides six common strategies for MVP. Here's two I like:
Tony Hsieh writes a long memo to Zappos employees encouraging them to embrace self-organization. And if someone prefers a different approach, they need to find another place to work.
Why so serious? The world is changing fast and everyone needs to be on board for culture change to work.
The article shows how Agile leaders, shift from managing for results to designing environment that create results. Instead of managing tasks or teams, leaders create an environment for success.
The authors share five techniques for designing environments. Here's three of them.
In The Wisdom of Teams, the authors describe six basic elements of teams:
1. Team is small enough to collaborate (5 - 9 people)
2. Adequate level of complementary skills needed for team performance
3. Meaningful purpose all team members aspire to
4. Performance goals agreed to by all team members
5. The work approach is clearly understood
6. Team members hold each other mutually accountable
The Scrum framework supports all six elements. For example, Scrum teams are small and work is made visible through task boards so everyone understands and sees the work flow.
Agile coaches who are unskilled at helping teams get to done may want to study and practice the patterns found in Teams That Finish Early Accelerate Faster.
Scrum Pattern Language for High Performing Teams
What's the beauty of patterns? Patterns require less effort than the traditional approach. Patterns are about energized work plus creativity.
Look at the first pattern: Stable Teams. Many companies multitask at the corporate level -- If there are only five teams, they ask the five teams to work on ten projects. And the company juggles teams to keep the ten projects in the air.
With the Stable Team pattern, you limit the number of projects to the number of teams, keep the teams together, and bring work to the team.
Simple. Elegant. Easy.
Jeff Sutherland identifies six reasons for ineffective Agile.
Ineffective coaches do not know how to help teams complete user stories by the end of sprint. The coach may not understand the importance of READY or may not understand how to reduce technical debt or may not understand how teams collaborate to complete a story.
In Agile Development, we've switched to a software development approach that is a lot like practicing piano or basketball.
With techniques like test-driven development and continuous integration, we fall into a pattern of study, practice; study practice...
Truth is, it's best to slow down and use deliberate practice to create a path to accelerated learning.
Christine Comaford shares the Truth About How Your Brain Gets Smarter.
About new behavior, Christine suggests you see, hear, feel yourself performing. Come close to the experience so you may feel it.
Feel the good feelings, be totally in that desired state. Remember what Einstein said, "Imagination is everything -- it is the preview of coming attractions."
For anyone who wants to understand the benefits of continuous deployment, read Shipping is Your Company's Heartbeat.
Guess what? Being able to deploy software in a minute or three, accelerates pace and learning. And with pace and tempo, improved quality comes knocking on your door.
If you are working on a difficult software problem, Mary Poppendieck suggests accelerating feedback loops to magnify learning. Here's three examples:
Accelerate feedback is my favorite Lean Software Tool because it solves problems and speeds learning.
"Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough."
-- Mark Zuckerberg
Bernhard Schroeder has written an excellent book for startups called, "Fail Fast Or Win Big." To help you move fast without breaking your company, Bernhard gives us the LeanModel Framework.
The book is organized around the four circles in the diagram. After the author covers the four components of the framework, he writes about how to spot opportunities, funding, and entrepreneurs who win big. The author is an elegant writer who likes to tell stories so you'll spend most of your time absorbing material.
I'm going to tell you a secret about prototypes, but first I want to look at the four integrated components of the LeanModel Framework.
Take time to understand the elements of your business model. Key elements include revenue sources, products, and customer segments. When Bernhard says Business Model, he really means model and not static business document. See Business Model Canvas.
I've found that selecting a target customer segment helps teams define their minimum viable product or prototype.
I've practiced rapid development for years. Even more amazing is rapid prototyping. In a world where 3D printers exist and thrive, you can prototype anything. For web products you could use a tool like Axure or write your own HTML. The author tells a story about an entrepreneur who creates a prototype with HTML and gives the app to college students. The students provide feedback that improves the business model and product.
Customer truth is the heart of the LeanModel Framework. The customer is your biggest ally and immutable.
"Right or wrong, the customer is always right." -- Marshall Field
Listening to your customer is critical because they give you feedback to land your product on the runway of success.
Now, about that prototyping secret I mentioned earlier, here it is.
Prototypes are a shared space where developers and customers interact, listen to each other, and design products.
Bernhard's LeanModel Framework vibrates with energy and power. I encourage everyone to create elegant prototypes, show them to your customers, and move at the speed of life.
Read the book. Absorb the material. Build great products!
PlanetGeek lists 16 ways to improve team performance.
The team should always be looking for ways to improve and know what steps they should take to improve performance. Perhaps, developers need to improve their test-driven development skills.