Design thinking and lean startup concepts to make your team more agile.
Here is a summary of some of the reference material I have found most useful in exploring design thinking and lean start-up concepts to get to the heart of the problem you are trying to solve. Often despite all this prework you have to acknowledge that you may still end up with the wrong problem statement which is where the beauty of the design process comes in, as you ideate and prototype your concepts and continually refine your problem statement with real client feedback. A side benefit of this approach is that you are setting yourself up with excellent stakeholder engagement.
The initial phase when you approach a problem with design thinking is to avoid converging too quickly on a solution — now is the time for divergent thinking and coming up with as many ideas as possible. When you think you have enough — come up with more! This 3rd Third concept from Tim Hurson gets you to examine a process 3 times before looking to move one.
A key component of defining the problem you are working on is understanding the people you are solving the problem for. Consider using the Experience Map, Empathy Map, and systems thinking tools to help you look at connections and linkages beyond the linear 5 why’s type analysis.
A wonderful example of the design process being used to understand and find the clients pain points and the problem that requires solutions is the human centred design (HCD) case study — Toward a veteran centred VA. IDEO’s guide to human centred design is an excellent starting reference
If you find yourself stuck, look at reframing the opportunity — this allows you to step back, examine your biases, and open up new solution spaces — how would you solve it if you had no money; all the money; What if you where a fireman; a doctor; a child; a 90 year old; how could this be the greatest opportunity ever — what has to be true; what would the founder do; what would new management do; What if you had to solve it tomorrow; What about it needing to be 10x better for half the price? More good questions to ask when you are stuck here
Once you have used design thinking tools to understand your audience and frame a problem then you should be starting to see some better defined boundaries around your solution space — something like the business model canvas or lean canvas or lean change canvas or lean dashboard are all tools that you can use to help capture current thinking and areas of uncertainty.
For a known problem with an unknown solution you want to apply a more iterative style such as Agile / Scrum, kanban, a design sprint or rapid learning cycles. Ash Maurya summarises how the sprint cycles come together to form a LEAN sprint.
If you need some added motivation for why you should move towards an agile approach in your business you can look at this McKinsey study on the trademarks of an Agile organisation; Ash Maurya on theory 3x3 perspective; Scaled Agile framework on how their portfolio of options fit together (great for an enterprise wide summary); This great slideshare running through the lean startup process; Or this summary of why Lean drives value. The Spotify Engineering culture videos Part 1 and Part 2 are excellent summaries as well.
Finally Jeff Patton looks at the continuous delivery of projects whilst combining the development of new concepts. One track focused on maximising learning velocity, the other track on delivery velocity.
Books for the journey
- Lean Customer Development — Build Products your Customers will Buy — Cindy Alvarez
- The Shortest distance between you and your new product -Katherine Radeka
- Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation — Tim Brown
- Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers — Liedtka, Jeanne & Tim Ogilvie
- Running lean: iterate from plan a to a plan that works. Ash Maurya
- Scaling Lean: Mastering the Key Metrics for Startup Growth— Ash Maurya
- The lean startup — Eric Reis.
- The Four Steps to the Epiphany — Stephen Blank
- The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company — Steve Blank
- Little Bets — How breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small discoveries — Peter Sims
- Scrum — the art of doing twice the work in half the time — Jeff Sutherland
- Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results — Christina Wodtke
- Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation — Steven Johnston.
- Leading Self organising teams — Workbook for Lean and Agile professionals — Siegfried Kaltenecker
- User Story Mapping- Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product — Jeff Paton
- Lean Analytics- Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster — Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz
- Steve Blanc — How to build a startup — Udacity free course
- Scrum training series — http://scrumtrainingseries.com/
- dSchool — a virtual crash course in design thinking
- Ash Maurya — The LEAN sprint — love the problem —
- Ash Maurya — A 3x3x3 Perspective for getting your Vision, Strategy, and Product aligned
- Cindy Alvarez Blog
- Experiential learning cycles -Ed Batista
- Ghazarian, Armen — A step by step guide to creating user Journey maps
- Gibbons, Sarah — UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet
- Jeff Patton — Dual Track Development
- Kaplan, Kate — When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps
- O’Connor, Nial — How to build an experience map
- Limit WIP — Continuous delivery — 1+1 =3
- Master your metrics — Great summary of The 12 Week Year (12WY) by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington and The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling
- McKinsey — stages of project — runs through their 5 gate project cylcle from idea conception to value delivery
- Rapid learning cycles
- Rice et al — MIT Sloan — Implementing a learning plan to Counter Project Uncertainty
- The five trademarks of agile organizations | McKinsey & Company —
- Spotify Engineering culture Part 1 and Part 2
- Steve Blanc — Build Measure learn
- Steve Blanc — Why the lean startup changes everything
- Standford social review — The promise of lean experimentation