Terms like MVP and Pivot have become synonymous with startups. With many of your competitors running as Lean Startups, how do you break out from the crowd? During the 2015 Techstars Boulder program, we used several additional techniques with the companies to help them accelerate their business. I’ll be doing an experience report about the Boulder program at this year’s Lean Startup Conference. If you can’t make it, here is an overview and links to detailed how-to guides. If you prefer a podcast version, you can find my Lean Startup Podcast interview here.
These techniques will help you:
- create coherent behaviors, decisions and a sense of purpose within the founding team and employees;
- maintain a shared understand of the current state of your business model;
- surface key risks and unknowns; take focused action to reduce those risks/unknowns;
- do more of the right work faster by visualizing and optimizing the flow work in your company; and integrate learnings from the market at a daily, weekly and monthly cadence.
All of this will help you get to product/market fit faster and more effectively scale the company.
The Company OS is where you start. This simple document will help you translate your vision into a concrete sense of purpose for your business. The alignment and energy created by articulating your core purpose, behaviors, decision making framework, and your aspirational destination, allows you to move so much faster.
The Lean Canvas is an essential tool in building a shared understanding of your business. The canvas forces you to be succinct and direct when describing the most important aspects of your business. By doing so, you’ll spend less time working on distractions, and focus on what’s really important.
After you articulate your best understanding of your business via the lean canvas and company OS, it’s time to build a business that works. The impact uncertainty exercise helps you uncover all the guesses, assumptions, risks, and dependencies in your business model. We’ll then help you best take action against these obstacles, and systematically de-risk your business.
Once you’ve surfaced key risks and uncertainties, the monthly strategy session helps your team take focused action on what really matters. Additionally, this exercise encourages you to learn from past performance helping you hit your goals in the future.
Finally, learn how to get the most out of each and every day with an effective Kanban board.
MVPs and experimentation are no longer competitive advantages. To get ahead, there is so much from the Lean methodology, not originally included in The Lean Startup, that can accelerate your business. The techniques above are an excellent way to inject discipline into your both your day-to-day operations, and your company’s long-term future.