The Lean Startup - 5 Keys to a Success

Episode 108 - 29 Nov 2017

A month ago I launched a new product - a new Minimum Viable Product. I learned a lot: here are the 5 things you need to know.

Remember to grab your FREE The Lean Startup Cheat Sheet

So you’re planning to launch a product?

A Minimum Viable Product?


A New Course

Just over a month ago, our adventure into Lean - that’s “Lean” as in “The Lean Startup” - reached an interesting stage.

I launched a product. A Minimum Viable Product.

The “Course of Some Kind” crystalised into “Scrum vs Kanban - the Mini-course”.

Here are FIVE things that I learned along the way:

1: Launch before you’re ready

Are you the kind of person that hears "Done Is Better Than Perfect" or “Shipping beats perfection” and thinks:

“Really? Are you sure?”

If so, you’re in good company.

“Hello. My name is Gary. I’m perfectionist.”

October was hell for me.

My task was take existing material and to repurpose it into a mini-course.

That doesn’t sound like a recipe for torment. But the more I worked on the course, the less I liked it.

I wanted to rip it up and start again.

If this sounds like you, then take a note from Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn "If You're Not Embarrassed By The First Version Of Your Product, You’ve Launched Too Late"

So pick and date. And launch. Before you’re ready.

Bonus Tip: Set things up so that the date can’t be moved.

I wrote the launch into an episode of Development that Pays. At that point, I was committed!

2: Remember that there are more moving parts than you think.

Your focus will the on the product. That’s only natural.

But a product won’t launch itself. You’re going to need plumbing.

I had my three videos. I also had an email service capable of sending time-delayed emails.

Three videos. Three emails. Simples.

But it’s probably not a great idea to send people direct to the video: each should be on its own page...

And I’m going to need a form - so that people can sign up...

And the form is going to need page to “live on”...


I think you get the message :)

3: Launch to a limited audience

Although it’s important to launch before you’re ready, you don’t have to be damn fool about it; not everyone has to see your “warts and all” version.

So launch… but make it a soft launch.

Wikipedia defines a soft launch as “a preview release of a product or service to a limited audience prior to the general public”.

In the case of the “Scrum vs Kanban the Mini Course”, I “hid” the announcement in a “regular” Development That Pays episode: only people that watched one particular episode all the way to the 4 and half minute mark got the link.

4 - Be ready to make running repairs

Launch day rolls around.

You push the Big Green Button, and breath a sigh of relief.

But don’t relax too much!

To paraphrase Mickey Rouke’s character in Body Heat:

“You got fifty ways you're gonna **** up. If you think of twenty-five of them, then you're a genius... and you ain't no genius.”

Well you may be you are a genius. I am not.

A genius would not have…. wasn’t expecting to told that one of my videos had TWO audio tracks. - A genius would not have I wasn’t expecting requests for the second lesson on day one.

So expect things to go wrong… and be at the ready to make running repairs.

5 - Remember that it’s an experiment

It bares repeating: Remember that it’s an Experiment.

This one cuts two ways:

It’s a reminder not to over-egg the pudding. This is a Minimum Viable Product, not a Final Perfect Product.

It’s also a reminder to measure. Your Minimum Viable Product is part of the Build Measure Learn loop. And if you don’t measure, you won’t learn.


In summary:

  • Launch before you’re ready
  • There are more moving parts that you think
  • Launch to a limited audience
  • Be ready to make running repairs
  • Remember that it’s an experiment