Every start-up is the manifestation of an idea within an unknown territory, under uncertain circumstances and having no idea about how the innovation would be received by the target users.
It is highly risky as the company invests a lot of money, time, and resources to build a product and if it turns out to be a failure, it cripples the company.
Lean development idea focuses on to avoid getting failed and even if failed, it would be cheap and won’t be such a big failure.
For over a decade, agile methodology has been ruling the entrepreneur’s community. It is based on iterative development and has greater flexibility to adapt and respond to change. It executes and delivers a large project in several small segments instead of delivering the entire project at the end.
What’s interesting here is that the lean approach practices agility, which makes it even more favorable to adopt for the growing companies.
Let’s understand the concept of Lean software development at length-
Wikipedia defines lean methodology as ‘a process for developing businesses and products that aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable’.
Lean startup methodology has been inspired by the term lean manufacturing, which was first used back in the 1930s by Toyota. Later on, Eric Ries reintroduced the Lean methodology as the new business model.
While the usual formula to build a new product, which includes – Analyzing the idea, laying off a strategic plan, gathering team and resources, implementing at the product development, testing for any bugs and finally, deploying in the market.
This is a straight-forward approach, you have an idea, and you start working on it with the available resources. But it involves too much risk!
The lean idea, on the other hand, follows a “build-measure-learn” feedback cycle. The approach is –
Many companies focus upon delivering what they think the customer wants. They invest months, even years, to build that product without ever revealing a hint about it to the potential user base during the production time.
Therefore, they never get the chance to have real insights about the product from those for whom they were creating it in the first place. This approach is, however, not fruitful and costs them a fortune and failure.
In contrary, lean development, tests the vision at each step and releases a minimum viable product (MVP) to see how their customer responds to it and tailor it further as per the customer’s feedback and specific requirements.
There’s also a slight probability that the product will not be in demand anymore and in that case, the company will re-analyze its hypothesis about the product and pivot the course in favor of the market relevance. It immensely reduces the possibility of potential failure in the outcome.
The lean methodology can make the software development lifecycle a lot more flexible, cost-friendly, and effective. Let’s see how it benefits the start-ups-
The lean approach eliminates uncertainty as it is based on in-depth research and a tailored management process.
Furthermore, it focuses on continuous testing of the product so that if the product does not engage the users as per the pre-assumption at any stage of the development process, the product fails.
But the click here is that it fails cheaper and faster without leaving the startup to deal with significant losses. This lower rate of failure can be of crucial economic importance for startup companies.
The lower failure rate profoundly reduces the startup risks. The lean approach helps startups to actually create a product based on customer’s needs and wants, that too in a far cheaper and more effective manner.
While well-established companies are increasingly laying off jobs, it is only imperative that the new innovative economy of startups will foster hiring of more workers.
Evolving and innovating as per the customers’ demands at any time is what today’s technology-driven marketplace needs. Any idea that would be a breakthrough in the market a few months ago might not be relevant anymore.
Lean enables the startup companies to pivot from their ideas at the last moment and adapt as per the market relevance.
Delivering fast and cheap is the forte of lean methodology. The lean process reduces waste.
It cuts out unnecessary steps and processes that don’t add value to the software development process and thereby streamline the production.
Lean development is based on the idea of ‘testing while developing’ and facilitated repeated testing of the product to determine its viability in the market and revise the strategy as per the current scenario.
The product thus created is highly improved, meets customer’s expectations, and helps the company to be recognized in the marketplace.
In short, the Lean approach follows the quote – “release often, fail fast, and adopt faster”. It renders entrepreneurs the ability to re-evaluate and re-consider their previous assumptions based on real-time learning, which enable them to control their business on their terms.
The lean approach is favorable over agile model as it doesn’t waste invaluable time in delivering the predefined product (which might fail in the market) instead, it learns at every step and delivers what’s required in the end.