This seems an appropriate post this week since there was big hullabaloo about a certain App that claimed certain features and did not deliver. If they intended it to be a minimum viable product (Mvp), let’s just say there was more MINIMUM than viable in the product. Though it was discovered and bantered about the Lean community it raised a bigger issue for me. With all the talk of iterative use, fail often and early and MVP being battered about especially in the Lean Startup (term trademarked by Eric Ries) are we forgetting one of the foundational pillars of Lean. That pillar is Respect for People.
The reason I mention the Lean Startup is that I find few in that community firmly rooted in Lean Principles. They look at Lean as meaning a waste reduction process. That reduction meaning their time to market and their time spent on developing product. In fact, at a Lean Startup event in Grand Rapids, Michigan recently, l saw presenters advocating the use of fake web fronts and click buttons into blank spaces all to “test” customer’s responses.
When I think of the term Lean, three things come to my mind: Customer Value, PDCA(Kaizen) and Respect for People. I believe that these are key components of Lean and TPS. Without these the TPS house crumbles. Lean is about delivering Value in the eyes of the customer. Lean is about PDCA not just Do and Adapt. Lean is about Respect not Use.
I believe Eric Ries has made an outstanding contribution to Lean in general and to the field of innovation and startups. In fact, I am a big advocate of his methods. However, the big M (minimum) may cause his house to be short lived as demonstrated by one stray APP developer as he pleaded Kaizen, Iteration and Beta after accepting money and obviously delivering less than a viable product. I feel strongly about the Lean culture that has developed over the years and continues to grow and even take its own life forms such as Agile and the Lean Startup. But as most of us know, it is important to understand and respect our roots. It only makes us stronger in the long run.
To my knowledge this APP Developer has no affiliation with the Lean Startup. My reason for the connection is to demonstrate the bad side as visibly as possible.
Warning: You Can’t Even Draw a Map with this “Value Stream Mapper” App
The 7 step Lean Process of Marketing to Toyota
The New Names of Marketing are still PDCA
Dealing with uncertainty in the Lean Startup
Lean Thinking: Prototype early and often