There’s many insights to be had from looking at how Startups and Lean Product businesses develop software and bring products to the market. In this BONUS episode with Ash Maurya, we learn about Lean Product Development from the author of Running Lean, one of the first published books around Lead Product Development.
Developing a book, the Lean way
When Ash got started he was not a famous author. He started a blog. By publishing his ideas on that blog and collecting feedback he understood the importance of the ideas that he was sharing and ultimately wrote his book: Running Lean: ITERATE FROM PLAN A TO A PLAN THAT WORKS.
In the blog, he shared his learnings from trying and failing at product development. From those blog posts came a book, but also a new tool, the Lean Canvas.
Lean Canvas, a better business modeling tool
The Lean Canvas came from Ash’s own experience and learning when trying to define, design and launch products and new businesses.
Lean Canvas is a 1-page business plan template that helps product developers come up with the key ideas or assumptions on which their business and product depend on. Ash adapted the Lean Canvas to improve the Business Model Canvas, developed by Alex Osterwalder. The Lean Canvas replaces elaborate business plans with a single page business model.
Lean Product Development: Agile made real
Lean Product Development is about iterating your product and business idea over time. From plan A to a plan that works, as Ash puts it. In that aspect, Lean Product Development became the embodiment of the original Agile idea of iterative development. We can argue that Lean Product Development continued what Agile started, but failed to realize: applying Agile as a philosophy of business and to all aspects of business, not just the software development process.
How Ash followed his own advice: Lean Stack, a Lean Product company
It is particularly fitting that Ash followed his own advice and applied his ideas to developing his own business. Lean Stack is a company that Ash created to market a Lean Canvas tool as well as to serve as the “home” to develop many more Lean Product Development tools. In this episode, we discuss some of those tools, but you can find many more at Lean Stack, which has a free trial for you to get familiar and learn about Lean Canvas.
Going beyond Running Lean, the book: Scaling Lean
Later on, a few years after publishing Running Lean, Ash wrote and published Scaling Lean, where he collects new tools and solutions to the most common problems he’s seen in the field when applying Lean Product Development. In that book he specifically discusses Lean metrics, and how to communicate ideas using leading metrics, not trailing metrics.
We discuss why “revenue” is not a good metric for Product Development (even if it is a critical metric, albeit “lagging”).
In this segment, we also learn about Ash’s new book the upcoming book on Product Discovery where he introduces new tools such as the Customer Forces, a new canvas for Lean Product companies to use when developing their products.
Resources for further study
For those interested in learning more about Lean Product Development, Ash recommends the Lean Analytics and Lean Customer Development books, which explore specific aspects of Lean Product Development not discussed in the Running Lean or Scaling Lean books.
About Ash Maurya
Ash Maurya, is a serial entrepreneur and author of the startup cult classic Running Lean, pairs real-world examples of startups like Airbnb and Hubspot with techniques from the manufacturing world in this tactical handbook for scaling with maximum efficiency and efficacy. This is vital reading for any startup founder graduating from the incubator stage and product developers working for growth businesses.