Chapter 6

Lean Enterprise Process

Until recently, developing new products was a haphazard affair based on a combination of past performance and gut instinct. Companies had little choice but to play the product/market lottery. The standard path for anyone seeking to bring something new to market, whether in a startup or a large company, was—and still is, in much of the economy—a long, hard slog to the public launch. You specify the offering, assemble a team, and then go into stealth mode to design, build, and manufacture it. You take the utmost care to perfect every feature; after all, if it were flawed, people might not recognize just how brilliant and useful it really was. Then, when it's polished and ready, you call a climactic press conference and release your baby to an unsuspecting public. The world is overwhelmed by your visionary genius and flawless execution. Reviewers sing your praises and customers would flock to distribution outlets to buy your creation. Profit!

Or not. Much of the time, the product sinks without a trace, and all the time, energy, and money is wasted. You may as well have gambled your capital on a roulette table in Vegas.

Eric Ries developed the Lean Startup method to avoid such dire consequences. Ries drew on ideas from Blank's process of customer development, Rolf Faste's and David Kelley's notion of design thinking, agile software development, and the Toyota Production System to create a method for developing successful businesses amid these uncertainties. ...

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