5 things that Eric Ries never meant

5 things which Eric Ries never meant in his book The Lean Startup

1. Build a quick and dirty minimum quality product to test with your users: The Lean Startup book gives a simple rule, “Remove any feature, process or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning that you seek”. At no instance does Eric Ries advocate the  need to dilute quality.

2. Planning is a waste; do not plan however short your iterations are. The Lean Startup philosophy only says that strategic planning takes months to complete. Experiments can begin immediately – but skipping planning is a recipe for disaster because you need to be clear on what your hypothesis is and what you want to achieve however short term things are!

3. First version of your product need not be awesome; you have iterations to take care of improvisation. Success is in learning to solve the customer’s problem, not delivering a feature. Our customers are not waiting to do a favor by testing products that are sub-optimal. Sometimes sub-optimal experiments can result in a really wrong reading of  customer’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction leading to incorrect pivots.

4. If your small experiment is successful it will automatically scale for growing volumes and will stand the test of time. Once you know that an experiment is clicking, spend the engineering time to make sure it scales. The book quotes Peter Drucker, “There is nothing quite so useless, as doing with great efficiency, something that should not be done at all.”; that is when something need not be done. When an experiment is successful, you must scale with efficiency.

5. Keep trying various pivots: Some products require the eco-system to stabilize; the Lean Startup offers a series of pivots of different nature which has a thin line with persevering. One needs to understand the essence of it and choose the right pivot; you will not get several chances to pivot.

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