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Project Management

Agile and Lean Principles: How to build startups faster

These days, starting a new venture is an extremely challenging process, especially in a competitive market.

To succeed in the current reality, you not only have to build a great product, make a reasonable business plan and have a great vision but also be open to change and deliver valuable software fast.

Agile and Lean principles come to the rescue here. You will be able to deliver more value to your clients faster than the competition and will also spend less time and effort in doing so.

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What are Lean and Agile

Lean and Agile are both known as lightweight methodologies used in modern IT management. They are answers to problems that arose in project management in the previous century, which are still relevant today. 

Lean comes from Lean Manufacturing and was introduced in the early 30s in Toyota factories in order to fix initial complex engine problems rather than repairing poor engineers quality.

It is a set of project management principles for achieving quality, speed and customer alignment. The goal is to gain the maximum value from production by eliminating waste in the production process. 

Lean IT gained its popularity for its similarity to manufactured goods in terms of software production. It focuses mainly on how to build the right things by:

  • Identifying the problems and opportunities,

  • Planning how the current process can be improved,

  • Executing the vision by implementing new changes,

  • Reviewing the feedback and making quick decisions.

While Lean’s goal is to eliminate pitfalls, Agile’s goal is to create software that actually helps the customer. In other words, it focuses on how to build the software in the right way.

Agile is a software development method that allows building products incrementally, and in contrast to a Waterfall approach, it focuses on “delivering working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale”.

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The following diagram summarizes in a visual way where Lean and Agile got their inspiration from:

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Lean and Agile principles

The five-step thought process guiding the implementation of lean techniques is easy to remember, but not always easy to achieve:

– Specify value from the standpoint of the end customer by product family.

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A reaction to heavyweight methodologies, which block software teams from doing what they need to do, is the Agile Manifesto. It empowers the team to make many decisions on their own. The Manifesto values are as follows:

– Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

You can find all the 12 Agile Manifesto principles here.

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How to launch software products faster

At App’n’roll we have a lot of experience in building new startups from scratch. We have launched companies like Survicate, Vooom and Mudita. Recently, Mudita successfully earned $200,000 in a few days on Kickstarter

We had an opportunity to work with clients around the world: from small solo-founder startups to growing organizations with 100 people on board. We can safely say that our developing experience brings great results! 

So, what is in our secret sauce?

First, we start with the MVP and focus on receiving feedback from your potential customers as soon as possible. You can start with simple form on a landing page or a social media group to reach your target audience. 

Our next step could be preparing wireframes and presenting your concept. They can be prepared by one of our UX Designers or Product Owners. Do not wait to show your product to the market! With the help of UI Designers, you can start working on the final designs afterwards. The designs could be once again shown to potential users. This method of verifying your product with users at every stage is called The Lean Startup and we will describe it more in upcoming posts.

Remember, that it is much better to change concept as soon as possible, rather than to work on a useless project for months.

When working with contractors (software house or startup studio), work in Agile methodology, not in Waterfall.

In Waterfall, you will be required to present detailed specifications on how your product should work, even if you do not know it in details yet.

Furthermore, when working in Waterfall, it will be difficult or impossible to make corrections to your software because it will mean new agreements, new estimations and the whole process may take days or weeks, not hours. Remember that every startup should be fast compared to the competition.

Last but not least, choose the right people to start your startup with. They should be interdisciplinary, which means that the whole team should have skills from various fields of knowledge. Only then will they develop and deliver a working, usable and beautiful product. 

That’s the advantage of working with a startup studio just like ours.

You have all of the skills your product requires, under one roof: from user experience, visual, web and mobile design, frontend, backend and mobile development to dev ops, testing and project management. It would be very hard to hire all of these specialists by yourself.

Summary

A genuinely Lean-Agile process means continuous improvement and delivery in whole value stream.

Lean mindset pays attention to the value that the organization is delivering. It encourages to reach beyond the software team on behalf of being flexible and finding the best business solutions. 

Agile mindset, however, is about being adaptive, always ready to change direction. Shorter commitment cycles and planning help make that happen. In the world of constant change, fast cycles of creating software and receiving feedback are crucial.

Agile and Lean build a new way to get better results from our actions, and combining these two mindsets will increase our probability to succeed in new ventures.

If you are looking for an experienced Agile team to back you up in your digital project – we are here to help!

Just drop us a line at hello@appnroll.com

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