September 7, 2022

The Scientific Method of Lean Startup

The Scientific Method of Lean Startup

Before jumping into the Scientific Method of Lean Startup, let's discuss what Lean Startup is! Well, this is what Google says about it:

Lean Startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products that aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.

If you didn’t quite understand what that means let me explain:

Let’s suppose you came up with an idea of a product or a business. You want to know if your idea is good enough to pursue and worth investing time in.

Lean startup is a method that helps decide that if your idea is feasible and has the potential to work well.

The Lean Startup Methodology is not only effective in testing your idea, it also aims to shorten your product development life cycle.

Before we shed light on how this helps you squeeze your Product Development Life Cycle, let's discuss the nitty gritty details of the Scientific Method of Lean Startup!

We'll start with an example:

Suppose Michael has an idea of opening a store that sells the best organic lemonade in his town. He is confident that his special lemonade recipe is going to be a huge success. Let’s help Michael test whether this is true!

1. LOFA — Create your hypothesis:

You start with some Leap Of Faith Assumptions (LOFA). Firstly, you identify the beliefs about what must be true in order for your start-up/idea to succeed. This is followed by building your hypothesis and writing it down.

Example: In this stage, Michael's hypothesis would comprise of:

  1. All the neighbourhood kids and millennials love lemonade so they will buy lemonade from my store.
  2. It would be cheaper and organic which will engage more customers.
  3. Moreover, it is made from a unique recipe that uses special flavouring that sets it apart from all the other lemonades, so it will be a success.

2. MVP — Experiment:

An MVP, “Minimum-Viable-Product” is built in this stage.
This is the stage where you create a product with enough basic features to attract customers and test your hypothesis as quickly and inexpensively as possible. This initial effort is known as your MVP.

Example: In this stage, Michael would set up a lemonade stall outside the Central Park that connects the whole neighbourhood.

3. Validate your Learning:

In this stage you validate your product and you treat your experiment as an opportunity to learn what is working and what is not.

Example: In this stage, Michael learned from his experiment that his actual target audience is from Gen Z, and falls in the age bracket of [15–25] years, not millennials. He discovered that customers were willing to pay more for his organic lemonade. Moreover, he learned that his special ingredients do make a unique selling point for his business and the customers really enjoy it.

A win-win situation for Michael right?

4. Build-Measure-Learn Loop:

In this stage, you take the findings from your experiment and start the loop again. Building an MVP is not a one-time event and you have to see whether the idea has traction or not. Therefore, build another MVP and launch it to keep learning.

Example: As Michael tested his first MVP, he found out that his target audience is mostly university students. So, he set up his stall outside a university with a renewed hypothesis to learn more about his customers using a build-measure-learn loop.

5. Pivot or Persevere:

The ultimate goal in this stage is to determine the viability of the idea, and this method of experimentation provides us with validated findings that help us evaluate whether to pivot or persevere.

If each experiment seems more productive than the last and you collect a lot of data that supports some of your leap of faith assumptions, the next step is to persevere.

However, if you receive the same negative feedback from your customers, it is probably time to pivot.

This is a brief summary of the semantics of the Lean Startup Method. As for how the Lean Startup Method helps in minimising the Product Development Life Cycle, this approach rapidly discovers the problems and moves through the build-measure-learn feedback loop until the MVP is a product that customers really love and are excited about.

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