The key to lean start-up methodology is minimising wasted time and effort by focusing on creating a minimum viable product (MVP) so you can measure user experience, analyse results and build on your experience.

The key to understanding the MVP approach is that nothing is ever finished. That may sound daunting, but it’s really just shifting your point of view from envisioning a finishing line and opening yourself up to continuous improvement. Each improvement helps you, helps your customers and helps your business.

Your team should be focusing on iterative development where each step of the development process is kept as simple and goal orientated as possible. Each development cycle should go from design to release in as few steps as possible and by measuring end user experience for each release, inform the next cycle.

The four key steps to a lean start-up approach are as follows:

1 – Define a user experience vision

What is the end result of your manufacturing process? What is the output you expect to achieve? Define what the ultimate goal is in the simplest terms so you know where you’re going.

2 – Identify critical assumptions

Look at the user experience vision you’ve defined and see where you’ve made critical assumptions. Time can easily be wasted when you work towards desired outcomes based on assumptions you haven’t yet validated.

3 – Build a version you can validate

Here is your MVP. Create the most basic and viable version of your product possible. Spending as little time as possible, put together a product that can be pushed to a select portion of your desired user base and put it to the test.

4 – Release and measure

The final step informs the next cycle. Once you have actual user input you can test whether your assumptions are correct. You can see the strengths and weaknesses of the product and evaluate the actual user response. Without sinking hundreds of hours, if not more, into development based on assumptions, you have genuine feedback on an end product that you can build on.

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