Implementing the ideas from Eric Ries’ book Lean Startup in daily business life? With a sample of opinions from the Danish startup scene, Guestblogger Rune Hugo. N. Pedersen has written a piece published on Trendsonline to illustrate what Lean Startup is, how it can be used in practice and factors to take into account.
Simon Hjære is co-founder of Tonsser, a new startup with online team management software, for networks of football players, coaches, teams and clubs. Johan Frederik Schjødt, is co-founder and CEO of AutoUncle, presenting used car information, an aggregation service and deal finder. And Simon Stubben is co-founder of BillyTracker, to help you track your kids using an app and GPS sensor.
Here are some of their answers based on their experiences with the concept. Check out the article for the full interview and all their insightful responses from their experiences (there is too much to capture or summarise here in this translation).
How do you understand Lean Startup?
‘Zoomed out… it’s the most direct way to develop a product or business model that works. But in everyday life, it’s very few new features or ideas that work as expected – nine out of ten things just do not work…..so, it is probably the fastest way to fail. And the more times you can reach to fail, the greater the likelihood that one reaches to hit something that works. ” Johan F. Schjødt, AutoUncle
‘….Startups try very hard to survive and navigate the chaos. For me, it’s about LEARNING to build products as efficiently as possible by responding to change…. you can stick to the old plan and walk the last 10 rounds out before you realize that you have failed. In a startup you have a lot of assumptions that ultimately prove to be incorrect. Why not learn from the mistakes as quickly as possible?’ Simon Hjære, Tonsser
‘In short, get certified business with as few resources (time and money) as possible.’ Simon Stubben, Billy Tracker
Doing ‘Lean Startup’ doesn’t mean you’re calling it that, but for some it’s part of the approach regardless.
How to use the Lean Startup in practice?
‘We have used Lean Startup to clarify everything from key strategic issues such as which groups we should focus on fine-tuning and optimization of products. But most of all, we use it to figure out how to prioritize what new features to be sacrificed blood, sweat and tears. …. for us, it is to be taken back to the state where you can suddenly see the product with a user’s eyes. I think that most can recognize the experience where you sit next to a user and to explain or show something, and suddenly realizing details, everything from typos to the illogical flows, you had been blind to.’ Johan F. Schjødt, AutoUncle
‘I would not say that we at Tonsser use Lean Startup directly…. but I can see that we still indirectly are very “lean” in our approach. In Tonsser we are very conscious about working with tight deadlines and test our solutions with users as early in the development process as possible… feedback boosts our motivation enormously when we experience feedback from dedicated users..’ Simon Hjære, Tonsser
‘In Billy Tracker, we use Lean Startup with our users helping to create the product, we collect their immediate reactions to the features of our app. …. In my opinion, we have not used the Lean Startup method from the beginning we first subsequently became aware of it. We, however, were great supporters of the method…. we will as far as possible get all processes “lean”, that also means that we need to get better at measuring what works and does not work.’ Simon Stubben, Billy Tracker
The concept: building an MVP (minimum viable product) validated learning and testing, meeting customer needs, and practical steps for a lean approach.
Do you have any advice on the use of the Lean Startup?
‘…test properly and do not shoot blanks! We have previously made mistakes in our tests, and it is like a reed blowing in the wind – imprecise and therefore unusable. One has to know what you want. Otherwise, the test goes in all possible directions. The truth is somewhere in between you as the expert and the user. ‘ Johan F. Schjødt, AutoUncle
‘I seem to see a hazard if one might be led to blindly abide by its users’ feedback. I agree with the importance of that one should listen to its users and it can often be invaluable. But it does not necessarily mean that you MUST abide by your users want. ……We also built an MVP that users have tested, which gave us some valuable information. However, it is a balance. I am of the opinion that ….. we should not be concerned that all is not perfect in the first place. But on the other hand, we also have an obligation to our users, which motivates us to push ourselves ….’ Simon Hjære, Tonsser
‘The qualitative aspect of Lean Startup is hard to handle. That the opinions of people who surveyed or interviewed, must often be critical…. make sure to ask plenty of questions. If you have plans to sell a physical product, Lean Startup may also be difficult to perform, since you may not have the product yet, or if the same customer groups live far away or have a situational use by our customers.’ Simon Stubben, Billy Tracker
What have you learned from Lean Startup?
‘Think big, but focus on solving one basic problem at a time ‘ Simon Hjære, Tonsser
‘…you do not have to spend a lot of money on development and production to the business proposition validated. Validation can be done by setting up hypotheses on its business proposition and have them validated, for example using an MVP. The good thing is thinking about the development of a product / service with customers, making it from their needs.’ Simon Stubben, Billy Tracker
Other literature you can recommend?
‘Switch, written by the Heath brothers. It is a much less academic approach to how to create motivation and commitment, which is a prerequisite for pursuing an idea, decision or change in practice. Especially when it involves other people that you depend on in the same direction’ Johan F. Schjødt, AutoUncle