The Perfect Example of the Lean Product Cycle
Hello! Humberto here.
I recently came across a team of programmers out of New Jersey who have been helping dozens of Entrepreneurs and their startups as a white label service but obviously because of it they haven’t gotten their proper credit. One of the things I was incredibly amazed was at their approach to building software.
These team employs almost 100 engineers with experts on many programming skills. After seeing their work I think I agree with their messaging that their code is good enough for fighter jets and used by startups. I have been employing many methodologies through out the years but it was only after seeing them work that I felt like I finally truly understood how Lean Product Development Cycle approach, so I figured I would take a moment and share that with you.
Perfect Use of Lean Product Development
As you might imagine, I get to work with many entrepreneurs in a variety of industries and of them is technology and engineering. My small marketing agency, for example, has a client partner who employs a team of almost 100 software engineers who design, prototype and build custom software solutions for SMBs and government departments and programs as well as startups and small businesses with low budgets. If you’ve followed me or have found my content elsewhere you may notice that I have mentioned a methodology that I’ve followed for years now called Blue Ocean Strategy — this methodology is a perfect pair for the Lean Startup Methodology and of course the lean product development methodologies, this company partner called www.BetaBulls.com is able to offer low-cost affordable custom software because they employ these methodologies combined and rely heavily on the lean product cycle to deliver on time and at low costs without limiting themselves to a particular industry.
The first step is always idea dumping in collaboration with the prospect client.
The Lean Product development cycle typically consists of
- Ideas being brought on by client or team, the team also pitches in various opportunities for what the product should do and sometimes shouldn’t do based on experiences and past projects. Half day sessions sketching and laying out design plans is common. The majority of the time is spent here to avoid further revisions. Literally just idea dumping.
- Building a simple but working sketch prototype of what will be the final outcome, presenting it to the client while development of final software application begins.
- Producing the actual SaaS or App, some of their clients focus on i-9 verification or FAFSA related doc intake for universities…
- Measure — once the product has been completed and deployed depending on the client and type of work the marketing (us) kicks into gear measuring the success of user flow, lead conversion, traffic, click through, operation, ease of use, UXUI, etc. etc. while Beta Bulls measures the requests, speed such as load times, etc, etc.
- Gather data — the data is given to client and meetings are schedule for review and to decide whether or not to continue making improvements or leaving as is.
Now, I didn’t make this graph myself but it does clearly show the development and revamping of the products once software has been deployed.
Through the development code phase, various teams are assigned to take care of individual code while one team may be assigned to QA and bring the code pieces together. Cross function collaboration is really important if you are deploying any Agile methodologies for your product development. I really enjoyed seeing cross collaboration happen this way because I could literally see the enthusiasm and energy build up as the flow kept steady, people got in their mindset and just built! Beautiful.
Have you practiced Agile before?
If you have you may know that one of the biggest issues Agile has is that does not directly address the UX design integration with the development process. Scrum doesn’t really work well if the designer is creating wireframes for their story while the developer is getting the code started. Beta Bulls has figured out a way to stay ahead of development when it comes to graphics so that the budget is not killed with delays by having designers work on UX sketches as ideas are being hashed out, so by the time ideas make it down the funnel the design is already in process. This can be achieved only by having large teams available which is why not many other development agencies can compete with them on price and quality. I can barely imagine what the founders went through just trying to build their team while they amassed client volume.
This approach, like I said, helps the deployment of software a lot faster but when leveraged with other practices the quality also tends to go up, just like it would with any other industry or service. Lean product approach is not meant to help deliver high quality but instead just focused on rapid deployment. If you are planning on relying heavily on this make sure that you are pairing it with another set of guidelines so that your short or long term outcome is not sacrificed.