- Series: Lean Series
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (March 9, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449305172
- ISBN-13: 978-1449305178
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 710 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series) 2nd Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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|Find further titles in this series||Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster||How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale||Designing Great Products with Agile Teams||Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design||Building Products Your Customers Will Buy||Creating Dynamic Brands to Generate Conversion|
"Ash has put together a book I wish I'd read before pursuing my own startup. The level of detail, including case studies and practical applications, make this book a resource worthy of sitting on every aspiring entrepreneur's shelf."
About the Author
Ash Maurya (@ashmaurya) is the founder of USERcycle. Since bootstrapping his last company seven years ago, he has launched five products and one peer-to-web application framework. Throughout this time he has been in search of better, faster ways for building successful products. Ash has more recently been rigorously applying Customer Development and Lean Startup techniques to his products, which he frequently writes about on his blog and turned into a book: Running Lean.
Ash resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife, two children and two dogs.
Top customer reviews
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At a high-level, the Running Lean framework is fairly straightforward: validate the problem. Define a solution. Validate the solution. Then develop your solution iteratively while continuing to test and validate along the way. Running Lean offers concrete, actionable instructions and templates for each step of this process.
However, the greatest flaw in this book is hinted in the language of the author's promise. Running Lean is designed more like an algorithm -- painfully detailed, comprehensive, and unemotional -- than a practical field guide for the real world. The book delves into everything from landing page design to kanban boards. In other words, in its attempt at engineering a comprehensive framework for business creation, Running Lean fails to deliver a strong set of core principles (I will revisit this later in my summary).
Another problem I have with the author's promise is that the word "metrics" is mentioned twice, when in actuality Running Lean incorporates very few metrics. In fact, it's not until the very last stage of that actual numbers are even mentioned (eg. Sean Ellis test, 40% customer retention). I found incongruence in the fact that Running Lean was characterized as algorithmic, but was largely based on qualitative experiments without discussion of potential quantitative benchmarks or test methodologies.
Since *Running Lean* is considered the de-facto field manual for Lean Startup methodology, I was eager to read it and compare it to Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation, which I had read previously.
At a high level, NISI and Running Lean prescribe very similar methodologies. However, where Running Lean stumbles, NISI's shines. NISI's focus on simplicity makes it far more powerful and practical. For example, as a first step, NISI focuses _only_ on pain whereas Running Lean starts off with a lean canvas, which forces you to simultaneously consider other parts of the business model. NISI's "less is more" approach proves more effective, because as formulaic and well-engineered as Running Lean tries to be, the reality is that starting a company is stressful and unpredictable.
Another example of unnecessary complexity is useless jargon like "iteration meta-pattern" and "build-measure-learn loop", as well as tangential topics like usability testing, Kanban boards or an annoyingly complex definition of risk: "the way you quantify risk in your business model is by quantifying the probabilities of a specific outcome along with quantifying the associated loss if you're wrong." As a result of its complexity, the milestones in Running Lean are less concrete and powerful than NISI. NISI does a better job painting a holistic picture of common entrepreneurial fallacies, and how to breakthrough them by focusing on the most important goal -- acquiring payed customers.
I also want to highlight two methodological differences between NISI and Running Lean:
1) NISI gets you in front of customers faster. The Lean Canvas is simple, but it seems like the entire exercise should hinge on the customer pain being validated first. That gets entrepreneurs in front of customers faster, which in turn helps save time and wasted energy on the subsequent steps.
2) NISI recommends an objective, quantitative testing method for initially validating the customer pain, whereas Running Lean uses customer interviews. I would argue that as a whole, NISI approaches the startup process more objectively while Running Lean bases it on customer interviews.
Overall, I believe Running Lean is a worthwhile complement to NISI in bits and pieces. Specifically, I found its structured customer interview templates, advice on establishing pricing, and mention of the "Sean Ellis Test" to be valuable and actionable.
The idea of systematically de-risking your business idea is a powerful way to get up and running with the smallest amount of money possible. If you have a business idea but you're not sure whether it's viable, Ash will give you a step by step plan for bringing it from the canvas to making money.
As another positive, the author seems to genuinely be interested in engaging with people who read the book. If this book doesn't answer a question you have, you could probably ask him. That's pretty good value for a book.
In short, the book is insightful and brings one up to speed with the ever changing sense of urgency with which new s/w products releases need to be managed to maximize limited resources and efficacy - how to qualify if a product/business addresses a real customer need, given that actually building new apps or s/w is extremely easy with today's build tools and cost effective outsourcing. It presents a structured approach to covering all the bases in a logical and systematic manner to achieving one's goal.
A must read for anyone thinking of creating a new product/business for the first time - and recommend it to professionals needing to come up to speed with the times in s/w product/business releases.
Build only the Minimum Value Product - always testing customer response.
Look for Minimum Marketing Features (what customers value - and you would write up)
Use Kanban charts ( from The Toyota Way ) to organize and constrain workflow
Done = validated with learning from customers
Measure product marketing fit all the time.
On Freemium (he is not a fan) :
Delays learning about what price buyers will pay
Low or no conversion - give away too much
Lengthens validation cycle
Shift focus to wrong metric - signups vs retention
Low signal to noise ration - what is important feedback
Free users are not free - account for free users as a marketing expense
Mailchimp started with a paid version and after much time backed into a free one. Users should easily outgrow a free plan. This is LinkedIn's issue. IMHO. Buy this book and The Lean Startup. Thanks O'Reilly
Most recent customer reviews
Otherwise it was a very easy read and if I really were interested in starting my own business, would have likely...Read more