Lean Startup Methodology - A Synopsis
A big reason why startups fail is they build a solution they are not able to sell, There are two main reasons for it
There is no market for it.
Solution(product or service) is not the right solution.
What is lean startup methodology?
Founders spend a lot of time in research, planning and building the "right" product before launching and then they can't make a profit when they launch. With lean startup way, one can eradicate the uncertainty around what customer really wants by taking an incremental building approach while looping in constant customer feedback.
They key is continual production and user acceptance testing of small batches, and redesign per the results of testing.
How do you apply lean startup to your idea or concept?
As you build your startup and you get new ideas, or problems, evaluate them by testing them first. The process is to deploy your solution or ideas fast - see if any problems arise - fix those problems - work in small batches and, if it is a large scale solution, break it down into pieces that make sense and deploy them one by one and follow former approach.
For example - Lets say you plan on creating some hardware device. Make a prototype first and then show it to a bunch of potential customers (You can find early adopters by using some landing pages or marketing techniques).
If they do not use it, or do not like something about it, evaluate why they do not use it or like it and when you know why, change the device per their feedback. Make it smaller may be. Then give it to them and see what happens. May be more people use it now but still some do not use it because of its design. Change the design then and keep deploying the changed product until you have a solution that works.
The most important thing here is to go through the iteration quickly so you keep the early adopters engaged and get to the market fast without creating something that no one wants.
How do you test and still move quickly ?
This is probably the most important part to understand in lean startup methodology. How do you assess customer's feedback to create something that they actually will want to buy or use. Your assessment of customers feedback should give you a clear understanding of what to do with the product next.
In the top example, some customers wanted it smaller, some wanted it designed better. Do one change first, then test it and get all the feedback together to analyze. When analyzing the feedback you may notice that customers who wanted better design liked the smaller size of the device so now you do not have to put in effort in changing the design. Also a smaller number of tests can be done quickly so you can move faster..
How do you know what really is a customer problem?
Eric Reis has mentioned a method in the book calling it Five-Whys - an analysis for truly understanding the cause of the problem - why a customer is not using the product.
In the above example - it can be applied like this - Why did the customer not use the device? She seemed lost. Why did she seem lost? She could not understand how to use it. Why did she not understand how to use it? She did not know what it was. Why didn't she know what it was? There were no instructions on it. After this series of 5 why questions, the root of the problem is found and the device is shipped with instructions on it. Now you can keep testing further this loop, which is called Build-Measure-Learn loop.
Hope it helps.