Leveling up a product organization

Giff Constable lean

Too many product teams are stuck in a mish-mash of waterfall and agile. And even amongst agile dev teams, it is time they leveled up from agile 1.0. A waterfall/agile mish-mash is where the dev team attempts to be agile, but the business thinks in waterfall terms with feature roadmaps, time-based estimates, and time-based deadlines. What do I mean by …

Tips for low-volume A/B testing

Giff Constable lean, startups

I tweeted about low-volume A/B testing the other day, and wanted to share a few thoughts.  I spent a few minutes talking to Hiten Shah (CEO of KISSMetrics) on the phone, who probably knows as much about A/B testing as anyone out there. He passed on three tips that I wanted to share here: 1. only do one variation at a time …

Not being live means flying blind

Giff Constable lean

From Roger Ehrenberg at IA Ventures, an influential early stage VC in New York: “We are passionate about focus, especially at the earliest stages where distractions often mean not shipping software, and not shipping means not being close to customers and getting feedback, which essentially means flying blind. Once a start-up begins living in its head and not in the …

Playing with Firebase

Giff Constable lean

I spent my evenings this weekend tinkering with the beta of a new service called Firebase, a Y-combinator company which is now trying to become the back-end infrastructure for real-time applications. I was attracted by the idea that one could whip together fast prototypes to test out ideas/MVPs. I’m not (yet) very back-end savvy, so am still trying to digest …

You can’t skip over early adopters

Giff Constable lean, startups

I recently ran across yet another situation where an entrepreneur was reluctant to launch early. He had two urges. He wanted to continue polishing the UX to make it more mainstream-ready. He also wanted to add more features and options to appeal to a broader range of customers. Here was my advice: 1. Face the fact that you are guessing …

Lean Experiments 101 (given to IxD program at SVA)

Giff Constable lean, startups

In late January, Gary Chou and Christina Cacioppo asked me to come talk about lean startup ideas to their “Entrepreneurial Design” class in SVA’s Interaction Design masters program. Christina just wrote up some thoughts from the day and they put up the audio file. I have embedded the slides and audio file below: MVP/Experiments talk at SVA IxD program View …

Unhealthy Interpretations of Apple Mythology

Giff Constable innovation, lean

“And rather than listening to, or asking their customers what they wanted; Apple would solve problems customers didn’t know they had with products they didn’t even realize they wanted.” — Allworth James Allworth over at HBR wrote a nice post on Apple and how their focus on great products, rather than optimizing profitability, helped them beat the Innovator’s Dilemma. But …

My day at Leancamp NYC

Giff Constable lean

I spent yesterday attending Leancamp’s New York session and it was an interesting day. It was my first “unconference” and I liked the democratic, “vote with your feet”, “your day is what you make of it” feel. Photo from Lukas Fittl Here is an overview of my experience

Goals not Features; Patience for Speed

Giff Constable lean, startups

Laura Klein has a thoughtful post up about validating problems and needs and behavior before product. I agree with her. It still doesn’t mean that you’ll get things right but you can prevent a lot of wasted effort. It again made me think about the liberating power of deciding to focus on learning goals, rather than production goals. In startup …