- Series: Lean (O'Reilly)
- 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: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (701 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean (O'Reilly)) 2nd Edition
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From the Publisher
|Lean Analytics||Lean Enterprise||Lean UX||UX for Lean Startups||Lean Customer Development||Lean Branding|
|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.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book's chapters are:
2. Running Lean Illustrated
3. Create Your Lean Canvas
4. Prioritize Where to Start
5. Get Ready to Experiment
6. Get Ready to Interview Customers
7. The Problem Interview
8. The Solution Interview
9. Get to Release 1.0
10. Get Ready to Measure
11. The MVP Interview
12. Validate Customer Life Cycle
13. Don't Be a Feature Pusher
14. Measure Product/Market Fit
Appendix - Bonus Material - comments and insights on topics including: building a slow burn startup, thoughts on premature funding, achieving flow, pricing models, teaser and landing pages, sales letters, continuous deployment, conversion dashboards
Throughout the book, Ash shows when and how to use methods for activities like: business model planning, interviewing customers, setting up tests for hypotheses, pricing, determining your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), forming hypotheses and conducting tests.
The book isn't just theory. Ash moves beyond the discussion and rationale for using Lean Startup methods which Eric Ries covers in his book The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Ash uses tools, checklist, process flows, interview scripts, and visuals throughout the book to show you how to get the work done.
I've started employing pieces of this methodology in my work at a medium sized business. It is helping me lower risks for projects I manage, and also helps me get to solid solutions and products more quickly, and at lower costs.
If you want a book that will help you get to work NOW on using Lean Startup and Customer Development methods, this is it. Grab this book, and get moving!
What makes this book standout is that there's great intellectual depth behind the concepts and ideas Ash presents but written in a clear, practical manner that makes it easy to follow. If you're debating between Running Lean or The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, definitely start with Ash's first. Here's an example why - Eric advocates doing customer discovery, i.e. talking with customers, and discusses the benefits of doing so. Ash does that and goes further by giving you the actual tactics on how to do so. Where to find those potential customers, how to reach out to them, and even a template of the questions to ask them. That's the beauty of his book, it goes beyond the "why" and gives you the specific hows to execute.
The other big benefit of this book is the structure of the content as it's a linear storyline. There's a quick overview, and then Ash starts going from an idea to validating it incrementally into a successful, product that's structured for growth. So you only need to read up to the point your venture is at. That itself follows the idea within the book of "Right Action, Right Time" which puts more of your time taking your venture to the next stage.
This is a 5 star book and worth every penny.
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.