Lean Methodologies for Product Development

As a product strategist here at ReadyTalk, I help to identify customer needs and market opportunities within our industry. Our organization is still relatively small (180 employees), and lately we’ve been discussing how lean methodologies may or may not be able to be applied to our business.

As I recently finished courses in Entrepreneurship and Business Plan Preparation for my MBA studies, and I really preferred the lean approach to writing a formal business plan, I’m eager to see what facets we can apply to our work.

I’m currently using the LeanStack to work through a possible new product for the company, and it’s greatly helped me focus on not boiling the ocean. I’m quite detail-oriented and it was liberating to work with a process that supports very small experiments and tests. As a developer and business analyst earlier in my career, I often found there was a lot of ambiguity in being given an end result and told to identify the best way to get there (interpretation of ‘best’ purposely vague).

It may seem like a lot of overhead to test incremental experiments, but really it solves two problems: are you taking the right approach to a solutions, AND is that actually the right solution? In our first trial project, we’re going to actually use that to gauge the success of the methodology: what would be the output and costs if we were to do the project without these experiments vs with them? How different is the end result, and how much did it cost to get there?

I’m very excited to see how it goes, although I have many, many practical questions about it all.