The Lean Startup: Part 2 (Steer)

We will study the mechanics of assumptions, innovation accounting, and when to pivot or persevere.  These techniques apply to all areas of the team, but we will focus our study on the build season robot for simplicity.

Choose five questions below that you find interesting (including at least one from chapter 7 and at least one from chapter 8).  Copy and paste these five questions into a new blog post.  As you read chapters 5-8, write your response to each question below the question.  At the bottom of the post, summarize what you learned.  Tag the post with "LS2".  When finished, write a comment on two other people's posts (you may need to wait a couple days).

  • Intro: Last build season, we discussed an ideal strategy.  This strategy had a number of leap-of-faith assumptions about how long things would take and what we could do.  Try to describe our ideal strategy, including those assumed numbers that helped us calculate how many points we could earn in a round.
  • Intro: At what point in the build season did we find out how accurate our assumptions really were?  Was it possible to accelerate this?  Could the assumptions be broken down into small experiments?  If so, how?
  • Intro: Explain the build-measure-learn feedback loop.  What is the purpose of this loop?  Why is it a loop?
  • Chapter 6: Using the Food on the Table example as a starting point, what would the concierge service look like for a robot that doesn't exist yet?
  • Chapter 7: Ries says that traditional accounting doesn't work for a startup.  By analog, preset milestones during the build season (such as "we will be driving by the end of week 2 of build season" or "we will be able to score 20 points in a match by the week 0 competition") may not work either.  Do you agree?  What SHOULD we measure instead, starting with kickoff Saturday, to know we are actually making progress?
  • Chapter 7: Going back to some of the leap-of-faith assumptions, what would some minimum viable products (MVPs) look like that could validate these assumptions?  What would we measure with the MVPs?  Think specific to last season's game.
  • Chapter 7: In the Grockit story, Ries talks about KanBan.  With this approach, you cannot start new work unless features that are build are "validated" to actually improve the product (robot).  This would appear to slow us down.  Why might it be worth it based on this case study?
  • Chapter 7: Ries talks about metrics with the 3 A's: actionable, accessible, and auditable.  Explain what this means and why numbers that don't meet these criteria are vanity metrics.
  • Chapter 8: Explain the words "pivot" and "persevere" in the context of a team's way of doing things.
  • Chapter 8: Votizen pivoted their business many times.  How did David and team know when to pivot?  When to persevere?
  • Chapter 8: Working rapidly to get the first working product (MVP) is seen as a good thing, but has limitations.  How do you know when to work cheap/fast and when to slow it down and make a higher quality product?
  • End with a summary of what you learned.