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Starting a Tech Business: A Practical Guide for Anyone Creating or Designing Applications or Software by Alex Cowan

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Iterative Management

What? How?

Iterative strategy management means applying the scientific method to your company strategy. You look at your business not in terms of a three-year plan where you clench your teeth and hope you're right, but as a series of discrete experiments. The Lean Startup author Eric Ries describes the conclusion of these experiments as a “pivot or persevere” moment. Do the results tell you that your approach is on the money, or are they telling you something else? If you're essentially on the right track, then persevere; if not, figure out what the results are telling you and pivot.

This kind of adaptive approach to strategy management benefits startups in two ways. First, it will help you plan your resources more effectively. You should organize your resources so you have at least one pivot. If you have runway for only one pivot, you're effectively foreclosing on the chance to implement anything you've learned. Making room for the pivot might mean raising more money up front, keeping your first iteration smaller, spending more time on ancillary consulting activities that raise revenue organically, or cutting resources more aggressively on your pivot (avoid this last option if at all possible). Second, it will help keep you and your staff focused on the reality of your business instead of feeling the need to defend your beliefs. Traditional planning and management often compels companies to create a long-term plan around a set of beliefs. The mythology of ...

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