Lean Startup; One thing we got it right at PickMe

When we were starting the PickMe, the “Lean Startup” was a new concept for us. But Zulfer (CEO), was passionate about the Lean, so we went through couple of trainings at the early stages..

We started to adopt the concept from the day one. Since I have learned the business from scratch for last 8 years, it was very sensible to adopt. We, atleast the top management, trained our brain to think lean. To date all our decisions and implementations were on lean principles..

Presently, the Lean methodology is widely used to achieve success in this ever evolving market conditions. http://theleanstartup.com/ summarize the methodology as follow;

The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and get a desired product to customers’ hands faster. The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development.
Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting. When customers ultimately communicate, through their indifference, that they don’t care about the idea, the startup fails.
The Lean Startup Methodology — Diagram

A core part of Lean Startup methodology is the build-measure-learn. The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible. Once the MVP is established, a startup can work on tuning the engine. This will involve measurement and learning and must include actionable metrics that can demonstrate cause and effect question.

When we were stating PickMe, Zulfer came up with an excel sheet of 59 raws (59 features) for the system while I was sleeping in the apartment in India after a very long day. Then we filtered the MVP (Minimum viable Product) which was about 10 items. Rest went to our backlog, even today we refer this document in any confusions. Every feature we released went through the biuld-measure-learn loop. If people happy about it, we continue or do otherwise.

While we are practicing this I understood the difference between PickMe and my other start ups. Specially my second company cheerurteam.com, we spent 2 years for engineering development where the market was not ready. Our competitor thepappare.com went deep into viewers even though they didn’t have a system. It was a just a Drupal or Joomla base blog. They spent their most money on content developers where we spent on engineers. Lean allows to validate the effort. Most startups fail but lean allows to fail fast and cheap. So, you can focus on your next best idea.

Presently, any new feature that come into PickMe go through lean. We usually build a MVP with a sprint or two and release to beta users, then it get rolled out to rest. From the feedbacks, we understand the next most important enhancements and arrive at a fresh MVP for that particular feature. According to the usage we modularize or build into core. This same principle apply to other non-IT functions as well.

In the traditional taxi industry, call center and the vehicle yard are most important components in the business. Since we introduced the app, the call center became irrelevant. Quality service is made sure from the vehicle yard. Since we don’t have any vehicles or vehicle yard, we assigned two people from call center to follow up with the complains and driver/vehicle concerns. It worked well and now it has grown to a 15 member Risk Management department. Their duty covers from making sure the vehicles are on the road according to the demand to driver disciplines and growing.

We presented some of these facts in the November’s Spike meetup. I had an opportunity to do a workshop on Lean Canvas at the South Asian Youth Conference 2015 which happened on 14th December.