The Lean Startup; 1 Sheet

By Eric Ries

The Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision, and great ambition, all at the same time.

A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty. Planning and forecasting are only accurate and useful when based on a long, stable operating history and a relatively static environment. Startups have neither.

State all assumptions clearly — and then test them. Start with the riskiest ones. The two most important assumptions to test are the value hypothesis and the growth hypothesis, which give rise to variables that affect growth. Sustainable growth follows one of three engines of growth: paid, viral, or sticky.

Build-Measure-Learn. All successful startup processes should be geared to accelerate that feedback loop.

A startup is a car ride to work. You know how to drive, so you don’t give up because there’s a detour in the road or you made a wrong turn. Adjust.

First, MVP to set a baseline. Second, attempt to tune the engine from the baseline toward the ideal. Third, pivot or persevere.

Organizations have muscle memory. It’s hard to unlearn old habits.

A Lean Team…

  • avoids vanity metrics
  • uses small batches, split tests, cohort analysis
  • converges on optimal solutions rapidly, even if they start with bad ideas
  • works cross-functionally to achieve validated learning