This week’s Product Warrior podcast, supported by Mind The Product, discusses the concept of the Lean methodology and helping teams adopt an experimental approach.
Silicon Valley Lean startup coach Tristan Kromer helps product teams to move fast through experimentation. He writes articles and e-books at https://grasshopperherder.com/. In this episode I chat with Tristan about:
- What is Lean?
- Key Lean principles
- Helping the team to embrace Lean
Click here to listen to Tristan on the Product Warrior podcast in iTunes or use the player below.
Tristan suggests we position Lean as a set of principles that can be applied to any problem or task. Tristan helps teams by focusing on two simple principles, starting with the principle of “I don’t know”. If we can identify what we don’t know, we can see where the risks are. In product management, Lean is the pursuit of knowledge to figure out what the customer wants, and more specifically what features will deliver value to the customer. To be Lean we must start with ignorance so we can open the door to learning.The second principle is to capture data or evidence to provide learning and inform a decision. We must execute, iterating through the build-measure-learn feedback loop to rapidly answer our question. We can design experiments by going through the loop backwards – starting with what do we want to learn, what data do we need to measure to obtain the learnings, and finally what do we have to build to expose the data.
Based on his experience working with startups, non-profits, and large enterprise companies, Tristan believes the most common obstacle preventing teams from embracing Lean is the mindset of the team members. It is key that everyone recognises the uncertainty that exists in many decisions. The biggest frustrations can come from team members not always being able to maximise their key discipline when the unknowns are too big.
We have to be comfortable with discomfort and focused on helping the customer. Breaking rules and doing things differently may feel awkward but if it results in better performance then we must embrace the learnings.
Tristan has first-hand experience of driving change in a big organisation, and admits it can can be hard. Leadership buy-in needs to focus on revenue generation and cost save, ideally both at the same time. It is key to support the organisation in avoiding the HiPPO effect.
Listen to the podcast to hear Tristan’s thoughts.