Running Lean 2nd Ed.

Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

Ash Maurya

Publisher: O'Reilly, 2012, 207 pages

ISBN: 978-1-449-30517-8

Keywords: Business Development

Last modified: Aug. 14, 2012, 9:47 p.m.

We live in an age of unparalleled opportunity for innovation. We’re building more products than ever before, but most of them fail—not because we can’t complete what we set out to build, but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product.

What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success. That’s the promise of Running Lean.

In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a "product/market fit" for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.

Running Lean is an ideal tool for business managers, CEOs, small business owners, developers and programmers, and anyone who’s interested in starting a business project.

  • Find a problem worth solving, then define a solution
  • Engage your customers throughout the development cycle
  • Continually test your product with smaller, faster iterations
  • Build a feature, measure customer response, and verify/refute the idea
  • Know when to "pivot" by changing your plan’s course
  • Maximize your efforts for speed, learning, and focus
  • Learn the ideal time to raise your "big round" of funding
  • Part 1: Roadmap
    1. Meta-Principles
      • Step 1: Document Your Plan A
      • Step 2: Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
      • Step 3: Systematically Test Your Plan
    2. Running Lean Illustrated
      • Case Study: How I Wrote Iterated This Book
  • Part 2: Document Your Plan A
    1. Create Your Lean Canvas
      • Brainstorm Possible Customers
      • Sketching a Lean Canvas
      • Now It’s Your Turn
  • Part 3: Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
    1. Prioritize Where to Start
      • What Is Risk?
      • Rank Your Business Models
      • Seek External Advice
    2. Get Ready to Experiment
      • Assemble a Problem/Solution Team
      • Running Effective Experiments
      • Applying the Iteration Meta-Pattern to Risks
  • Part 4: Systematically Test Your Plan
    • Stage One: Understand Problem
      1. Get Ready to Interview Customers
        • No Surveys or Focus Groups, Please
        • But Talking to People Is Hard
        • Finding Prospects
        • Preemptive Strikes and Other Objections (or Why I Don’t Need to Interview Customers)
      2. The Problem Interview
        • What You Need to Learn
        • Testing the Problem
        • Formulate Falsifiable Hypotheses
        • Conduct Problem Interviews
        • Do You Understand the Problem?
    • Stage Two: Define Solution
      1. The Solution Interview
        • What You Need to Learn
        • Testing Your Solution
        • Testing Your Pricing
        • Formulate Testable Hypotheses
        • Conduct Solution Interviews
        • Do You Have a Problem Worth Solving?
      2. Get to Release 1.0
        • Product Development Gets in the Way of Learning
        • Reduce your MVP
        • Get Started Deploying Continuously
        • Define your activation Flow
        • Build a Marketing Website
    • Stage Three: Validate Qualitatively
      1. Get Ready to Measure
        • The Need for Actionable Metrics
        • Metrics Are People First
        • Simple Funnel Reports Aren’t Enough
        • Say Hello to the Cohort
        • How to Build Your Conversion Dashboard
      2. The MVP Interview
        • What You Need to Learn
        • Formulate Testable Hypotheses
        • Conduct MVP Interviews
      3. Validate Customer Lifecycle
        • Make Feedback Easy
        • Troubleshoot Customer Trials
        • Are You Ready to Launch?
    • Stage Four: Verify Quantitatively
      1. Don’t Be a Feature Pusher
        • Features Must Be Pulled, Not Pushed
        • Implement an 80/20 Rule
        • Constrain Your Features Pipeline
        • Process Feature Requests
        • The Feature Lifecycle
      2. Measure Product/Market Fit
        • What Is Product/Market Fit?
        • The Sean Ellis Test
        • Focus on the “Right” Macro
        • What About Revenue?
        • Have You Built Something People Want?
        • What About the Market in Product/Market Fit?
        • Summary
      3. Chapter 15 Conclusion
        • What’s Next?
        • Resources
    • Appendix: Bonus Material
        • How to Build a Low-Burn Startup
        • Why Premature Fundraising Is a Form of Waste
        • How to Achieve Flow in a Lean Startup
        • How to Set Pricing for a SaaS Product
        • How to Build a Teaser Page
        • How to Get Started with Continuous Deployment
        • How to Build a Conversion Dashboard


Running Lean

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: Jan. 30, 2017, 10:52 p.m.

As always, when it comes a new generation running into any area, they need to define it again. This is Business Development, according to the current generation. Not really anything new, but described in a short and dumbed-down way, so that anyone (i.e. "creative people") can understand it.

It is not bad. It manages to describe the startup-process in a coherent way, but, with the exception of the "LEANCanvas", there is nothing new in here, that a newly minted MBA-student hasn't gone thru already (and if not, it speaks more of the quality of the Business School they attended than anything else).

Caveat: as they are in the lala-country, where buzz-words count, they have borrowed the LEAN from the Toyota Way, etc, but this book has in reality nothing to do with the LEAN concept, except some small steps when it comes to Value Propositions (which they call something else…).

Anyway, worth reading for the LEAN canvas presentation, but don't expect to be enlightened unless you are pretty ignorant from the start.


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