Intro: The Lean Startup is a book about 21st century management. How does building a FRC robot and running a FRC team run into the same challenges Eric Ries identified in modern businesses? How is our FRC team a group of entrepreneurs?
The challenges are the same because each have similar pitfalls. Direction, communication, focus and vision - getting them in alignment. The group is like entrepreneurs because we'll have to take a situation, develop a strategy and find a new way to do something that is also new.
Chapter 1: What is productivity? When building a FRC robot, what specifically is productivity? Based on this definition, was our team productive during the last build season?
Productivity is a measurement of how much of what you are doing. The important part of productivity is accuracy - if you're not making something that fits the need or situation then it becomes counterproductive. I wasn't here for last season but from things I heard we could have kept on task better and managed our focus.
Chapter 3: What did IMVU assume to be true when they designed their product? How did customers actually behave? Was there a faster and cheaper way to learn the lesson they learned?
They assumed that people would want it because of the popularity of both IM's and games. Customers at first didn't understand it or even know about it so there was little to no customer base. Yes, they could have started with listening to their customers and making changes to the product. With management it's important to remember to listen to your front line people - they have the answers.
Chapter 3: What is something that we were unsure of last build season that we experimentally validated? Was there a faster way to learn what we learned?
I was not here for last season but there is always room for improvement in any scenario.
Chapter 4: Choose the Zappos, HP, Kodak, or Proctor & Gamble case study. What assumptions did the Zappos founders make when they started their business? How did they test their assumptions more efficiently than the IMVU team?
The assumption made was that there was a need for an online outlet. Instead of just diving in and making something they started small, really not having any inventory - no overhead - and partnered up with an established base - the store. IMVU thought they knew what people wanted and chased that assumption where Zappos confirmed and molded the idea based on demand, feedback and other data. This made their time spent more productive because their energy went into something that would impact the end product to match the vision.