You Are Spending 3x-5x More Than You Should

Giff Constable lean

In carpentry, the rule is “measure twice, cut once” because once you cut, you can’t go back. If you get it wrong, you end up wasting a lot time, money, and materials. Somehow, that concept has not made it into the vast majority of software projects. Even though “lean startup” has become a popularized term, most people don’t practice it, …

Lean… startup? enterprise? Just use your head

Giff Constable lean

Andreas Klinger recently wrote an article that made some rounds in the lean startup circle entitled “why lean startup sucks for startups.” Putting the attention-grabbing headline aside, I found much of the piece rather bizarre. Is lean startup different for startups? Yes and no. Hoping for a detailed playbook is lazy, naive thinking. Lean, going back to the Toyota system, …

A lean case study with Time Inc’s Cooking Light

Giff Constable innovation, lean

Giff Constable- Testing New Products Ideas at Time – NCCSF Neo Day Session 2 from NeoInnovate on Vimeo. We spent a fascinating 8 weeks with the team at Cooking Light magazine, part of Time Inc’s Lifestyle Group, helping them put “lean startup in the enterprise” methods into action. Our goal was to ideate and then test a new product idea …

Research vs Design

Giff Constable design, lean

“Research is the process by which we understand problems. Design is the process for which we solve problems.” Yes! Watch this video of Farrah Bostic’s talk at Lean Day West on how to improve the world of qualitative research.

Getting the experiment wrong

Giff Constable lean

On October 12th, the artist Banksy set up a stall in New York selling signed canvases for $60. Banksy didn’t announce it, but released a video the next day. Banksy fans across the globe were probably mortified that 1. they missed it, and 2. these people walking by didn’t appreciate the opportunity! Personally, I think Banksy set it up to …

Should you write unit tests for experiments and MVPs?

Giff Constable lean, startups, technology

This question came up again recently. Good software engineering is rigorous about tests because they reduce bugs both in the code’s present state and with code changes, ultimately improving quality and speed. When you are at the early stages of an idea, just trying to test out whether it holds water, should you bother with tests at all? Speed of …

When do you hit the gas pedal?

Giff Constable innovation, lean, startups

“Unfortunately, the pendulum rarely swings halfway” — Eric Paley Eric Paley has a great post about founders hesitating to invest in growth, even when he thinks they should. Now, I’ve been in startups where either the CEO or the VCs tried to force growth too early, and had it backfire in a big way. Thus I’ve been very responsive to …

Evidence, not Validation

Giff Constable innovation, lean

The other day, I tweeted my discomfort with the words “validation” and “invalidation” when it comes to early stage products. They appeal to human psychology because we like clear, crisp, confident concepts. But the real work of applying lean in practice is much murkier. When is something actually validated or invalidated? An adequate answer to the former might be product-market-fit, …

Lift’s Process

Giff Constable lean

A colleague forwarded me Lift’s designer job posting and I really liked their process section: Process We work some variant of Lean + Agile + IDEO’s design thinking. Wow, buzzwords. The things that we believe in most strongly are small batches, validation, and revisions. On the small batch side, we practice continuous deployment. Every code commit gets pushed to product …

The Truth Curve

Giff Constable innovation, lean, startups

(updated version from Testing with Humans) I wanted to share one of the slides from my talk at QCon last week. I call it the truth curve. On the X-axis is your product sophistication. On the Y-axis is how much you can believe your learnings versus having to strongly filter your results through your judgement and vision. Different types of …