The Principles of Product Development Flow

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, July 13, 2009 The Principles of Product Development Flow If youve ever wondered why agile or lean development techniques work, The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development by Donald G. Its quite simply the most advanced product development book you can buy. But it goes beyond that, including techniques for improving the economics of product development.

Lessons Learned: Product development leverage

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Sunday, April 26, 2009 Product development leverage Leverage has once again become a dirty word in the world of finance, and rightly so. But I want to talk about a different kind of leverage, the kind that you can get in product development. Its a force that allows startups to build products at parity with much larger companies - cheaper and much faster. In the end, I believe they co-created our product with us.


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Thoughts on scientific product development

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, September 22, 2008 Thoughts on scientific product development I enjoyed reading a post today from Laserlike (Mike Speiser), on Scientific product development. By embracing a scientific approach to product development, not only will your business have a much higher probability of success, but it will also be a more fun and creative place to work. By starting a new product off with as few features as possible (1?),

The 7 Key Metrics Every Business Owner Should Monitor

Up and Running

If you don’t understand your key financial metrics, you have no way of monitoring your business’s health—and you risk mingling assets, incurring penalties for filing taxes late, overlooking expenses, and running into difficulties paying bills and employees, just to mention a few! It is, therefore, essential to not only understand what each of these key metrics can tell you about the health of your business, but also to monitor how these metrics are performing on an ongoing basis.

Why vanity metrics are dangerous

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Wednesday, December 23, 2009 Why vanity metrics are dangerous In a previous post, I defined two kinds of metrics: vanity metrics and actionable metrics. In that post, I took it for granted that vanity metrics are bad for you, and focused on techniques for creating and learning from actionable metrics. In this post, Id like to talk about the perils of vanity metrics. My personal favorite vanity metrics is "hits."

Conversion: The Most Important Internet Metric of All (Revisited)

Over 13 years ago, in March of 2000, I wrote a blog post titled “ The Most Powerful Internet Metric of All. ” The key thesis was this: if an Internet company could obsess about only one metric, it should be conversion. No other metric so holistically captures as many critical aspects of a web site – user design, usability, performance, convenience, ad effectiveness, net promoter score, customer satisfaction – all in a single measurement.

Beware of Vanity Metrics (for Harvard Business Review)

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, February 8, 2010 Beware of Vanity Metrics (for Harvard Business Review) The next article in my series on entrepreneurship for Harvard Business Review is live today. Once again, we revisit the topic of Actionable metrics and their nemesis: Vanity metrics. Any entrepreneur with a decent reality distortion field can find metrics that make it look like theyre being successful. But how do we know which metrics to look at?

Eight Ways Customer Analytics Can Give Your Company A Competitive Edge


Once upon a time, your company may have been able to shake it off if you threw a marketing idea against the wall and found it didn’t stick, or developed a line of products customers didn’t seem to like. If you know what those numbers (also called metrics) are, how to collect them, and how to evaluate what they mean, you will increase your understanding of what drives your customers. Develop products customers want. Conduct product usability tests.

3 Tips To Overcome Go-To-Market Obstacles


Most entrepreneurs expect obstacles on the path to bringing a product or service to market, but they might not know how to push past that final roadblock. Confirm your product or service works. Remember: your product or service needs to work before you can consider how you will sell it — or if people will purchase it. Do people believe your product or service works? How do people value your product or service’s usefulness?

Lessons Learned: The metrics and levers of engagement.

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Tuesday, March 24, 2009 The metrics and levers of engagement, presentation on Engagement Loops for Facebook Developer Garage SF Ill be presenting a talk at the Facebook Developer Garage SF Wednesday evening. Eric Ries Engagement Loops The Levers And Metrics Of Engagement View more presentations from Eric Ries. Unfortunately, its easy to lose track of positioning effects when optimizing for a single metric.

Customer Development Manifesto: Market Type (part 4) « Steve Blank

Steve Blank

In future posts I’ll describe how Eric Ries and the Lean Startup concept provided the equivalent model for product development activities inside the building and neatly integrates customer and agile development. The product development model treats all startups like they are in an Existing Market – an established market with known customers. In 1996 Palm was selling a product that allowed users to do something they couldn’t do before.

You Are What You Measure, So Choose Your KPIs (Incentives) Wisely!

Occam's Razor

While there is a great deal of appreciation for the power of metrics/data, I've come to realize that Sr. Leaders don't quite appreciate the deep, and often corrosive, consequences of choosing metric x over metric y as a key performance indicator (KPI). Sidebar] A key performance indicator is a metric that helps you understand actual performance against preset business objectives. The metric the BBC is focused on is not Page Views, it is Visitor Loyalty.

Good enough never is (or is it?)

Startup Lessons Learned

One of the sayings I hear from talented managers in product development is, “good enough never is.&# And, most importantly, it helps team members develop the courage to stand up for these values in stressful situations. This is precisely the dilemma that the doctrine of minimum viable product is designed to solve. Almost everything we know today about how to build quality products in traditional management has its origins with W.

Why Successful Product Management Involves More Than Spectacular Specs


In 2013, I left a CTO job overseeing a 50-person product engineering team for the same job at a four-person startup. This learning experience left me with one seemingly obvious takeaway: The two trickiest variables of early product management are the “product” and the “management.” Great product teams need vision, experimentation, competitive analysis, and a deep understanding of the pain points they’re trying to eradicate.

The Superbowl ad test

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, September 13, 2010 The Superbowl ad test I am a firm believer in the danger of vanity metrics , numbers that give the illusion of progress but often mask the true relationship between cause and effect. Since I first started writing about vanity metrics , I’ve met more and more entrepreneurs who are struggling with a simple question: how can I tell a vanity metric when I see it? Vanity metrics are generally bigger.

Lessons Learned: The engineering manager's lament

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, October 20, 2008 The engineering managers lament I was inspired to write The product managers lament while meeting with a startup struggling to figure out what had gone wrong with their product development process. When a process is not working, theres usually somebody who feels the pain most acutely, and in that company it was the product manager. He has a good team, and theyve shipped a working product to many customers.

Lessons Learned: When NOT to listen to your users; when NOT to.

Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, October 6, 2008 When NOT to listen to your users; when NOT to rely on split-tests There are three legs to the lean startup concept: agile product development , low-cost (fast to market) platforms , and rapid-iteration customer development. They need to incorporate customer feedback into the product development and business planning process. If were going to build a product, we need to have a sense of who will use it.

Maybe not so much with the "optimization"

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

In the quest for optimization, A/B tests, metrics, and funnels, we're in danger of losing the fun and value of creative work. When we demand overwhelming customer outcry before committing to the slightest product change, we're in danger of losing the value of creating a cool feature that takes too much effort but people just love. Still, every article I read turns the creative process of business and product design into Vulcanian objectivity.

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8 Levels Of Responsibility Lead To Change In Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Usually the real culprit is procrastination, lack of focus, or low productivity and lack of metrics. Smart entrepreneurs know they must deliver a quality product, develop a winning business model, and attract real customers.

Small Business and Startups: Teams and Transparency

crowdSPRING Blog

With our investors we communicate at regular intervals about financial performance, business intelligence data, strategy, site metrics, and operations. We involve every person who works here in product development, strategy, and goals and then we share with them the results of those efforts. How much information is too much and at what point does the information start to negatively impact productivity and morale? How transparent is too transparent?

Refactoring for TDD and interaction design

Startup Lessons Learned

This basic pattern is useful in all aspects of product development. The temptation is try and build a toolkit of general pieces, which can be assembled into many kinds of final product. The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development ► June (3) What is a startup? Startup Visa update ► February (5) Kiwi lean startup + Australia next Why diversity matters (the meritocracy business) Beware of Vanity Metrics (for Harvard Business Rev.

Learning is better than optimization (the local maximum problem)

Startup Lessons Learned

At least, not in the traditional sense of trying to squeeze every tenth of a point out of a conversion metric or landing page. In fact, the curse of product development is that sometimes small things make a huge difference and sometimes huge things make no difference. Even if it shows improvement in some micro metric, does that invalidate the overall design? That was evident in the metrics and in the in-person usability tests.

7 Keys To Scaling Your Startup To Be The Next Unicorn

Startup Professionals Musings

Many entrepreneurs never get past their first-stage focus on their innovative product, to scaling the business globally, organizing a structure to handle thousands of employees, and concentrating their focus “on the business” rather than working “in the business.”

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Lessons Learned: The three drivers of growth for your business.

Startup Lessons Learned

Master of 500 Hats: Startup Metrics for Pirates (SeedCamp 2008, London) This presentation should be required reading for anyone creating a startup with an online service component. Daves done a great job of articulating the key metrics you want to look at in each of these five areas, and I wont bother repeating them here (go read the presentation already). He also has a discussion of how your choice of business model determines which of these metric areas you want to focus on.

8 Tips For Getting Your Startup Right The First Time

Startup Professionals Musings

Building a minimum viable product, with customer validation. Minimum viable products (MVPs) are recommended for validating the market, with iterative enhancement to quickly meet market feedback.

How To Succeed As A Product Manager


New technologies emerge daily and bring ingenious products to the world. It’s generally accepted to praise developers and designers for bringing these products to life but there is usually someone else behind the concepts and ideas. And this is the product manager who dictates the strategies and processes, controls the product’s lifecycle and ensures that it meets all the set demands. Product managers should also understand the company’s goals.

Why Companies and Government Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation

Steve Blank

If they were a commercial company, they figured out product/market fit; or if a government organization, it focused on solution/mission fit. HR processes, legal processes, financial processes, acquisition and contracting processes, security processes, product development and management processes, and types of organizational forms etc. Process Versus Product. And by product, I mean the creation of new hardware, services, software, tools, operations, tradecraft, etc.

8 Keys To Scaling The Business After Initial Traction

Startup Professionals Musings

There is no magic lever for growth, so several initiatives are required, with metrics to assess value returned. Manual processes and people are always the most expensive to scale, so every process needs metrics to determine when automation is appropriate.

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What Top Performers at Startups and Large Organizations Have in Common…More Than You Would Think

Startup Lessons Learned

Doing less—and sticking to that narrow scope—is key, yet the temptations to prematurely expand to new customer groups, new features, new products and services, and new geographies is very strong. They take on many priorities—for example, working on 3 product development projects simultaneously—and then work hard to accomplish all of them, which means they cannot go all in and obsess over a few things. “Do A: They need to pursue different, better metrics.

Fear of Failure and Lack of Speed In a Large Corporation

Steve Blank

And worse, even if someone does manage to start something new, our management structure has so many financial, legal and HR hurdles that every initiative needs to match our existing business financial metrics, processes and procedures. And when we do make bets, they’re small bets on incremental products or acquisitions that simply add to the bottom line.”. Startups have finite time and resources to find product/market fit before they run out of money.

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5 Ways To Conserve Investor Cash And Ensure Survival

Startup Professionals Musings

Cash flow is a basic survival metric for every startup. For example, a software development startup raising $250,000 from angel investors better be able to operate on $25,000 per month.

8 Keys To Real Innovation Outside of Silicon Valley

Startup Professionals Musings

Yet many of you are telling me that we are all missing big opportunities by not recognizing the unique challenges faced by startups in developing countries , where infrastructure is lacking, and talent is not so concentrated. Develop new venture models for tougher ecosystems.

8 Business Execution Strategies That Lead To Success

Startup Professionals Musings

After investigating these successes, I have isolated certain strategy elements which I now offer to you as expeditors of success in starting a new business, independent of the product or service you are offering, as well as the market segment you are targeting.


Startup Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned by Eric Ries Monday, June 8, 2009 Datablindness Most of us are swimming in a sea of data about our products, companies, and teams. That’s because many of our reports feed us vanity metrics: numbers that make us look good but don’t really help make decisions. Yet even among those who have access to good actionable metrics, I’ve noticed a phenomenon that prevents taking maximum advantage of data.

10 Keys To Surviving From A Startup To An Enterprise

Startup Professionals Musings

Early-stage entrepreneurs rightly keep their focus on creating an innovative product or service. Growth is more than simply repackaging existing products, and adding bells and whistles or slick incentives. In addition to fresh products, you need people smarter than you for real help, with the right combination of skills, experience, and passion to foster and manage new growth. Switch your attention from product development to sales.


The Startup Magazine

Most industries have touched their peak, matured, and there is little room to improve in the world of homogenous products, similar marketing, and standardized, efficient processes. Better Products: Improvement in your products or services is crucial, but the right question is what to improve.

Three Questions with Bala Subramaniam

Version One Ventures

Bala is a seasoned product, business, and technology leader. With every insightful thing that Bala said, I kept thinking about how I could share his wealth of knowledge on product, engineering, data, and management with everyone. Question 1: How do you run experiments for product development in a two-sided marketplace? Bala: Most product development happens through controlled experiments.

What Not To Do When Marketing During A Pandemic 


Another common mistake that marketing teams are making is using the same metrics for success that they have used in the past. If you use these same metrics, you’re going to be sorely disappointed in the results. by Boris Pfeiffer , CEO and Founder of Riddle.

Top Tips for Building a Successful Software Company

Women Entrepreneurs Can

Software development comes with several challenges, huge risks, and a lot of responsibility, which is why there is still a high failure rate amongst many modern software startups. Regularly testing throughout all development stages is vital.

9 Deadliest Start-up Sins

Steve Blank

The excerpts, which appeared first at , highlight the Customer Development process, best practices, tips and instructions contained in our book. ———– Whether your venture is a new pizza parlor or the hottest new software product, beware: These nine flawed assumptions are toxic. These founders specify, design, and build a fully featured product using classic product development methods without ever leaving their building.

So you just raised your seed round, now what?

Version One Ventures

Priority = product-market fit . The seed round is all about finding product-market fit. Be myopically focused on product-market fit and don’t waste your time on things that won’t contribute to achieving this goal. By fostering a metrics mindset in your organization from the start, you can run experiments more effectively and efficiently as you work on product-market fit. These metrics will become your business’ North Star for everyone to rally around.

Why Companies are Not Startups

Steve Blank

These groups are adapting or adopting the practices of startups and accelerators – disruption and innovation rather than direct competition, customer development versus more product features, agility and speed versus lowest cost. A business model guides an organization to create and deliver products/service and make money from it. It describes the product/service, who is it for, what channel sells/deliver it, how demand is created, how does the company make money, etc.

Startup Data: 4 Strategies Changing the Speed & Size of Your Series A

View from Seed

Foster product development and marketing which creates organic (or somewhat organic) user traction. This focus translates into big top line figures, including some admittedly vanity metrics and pretty graphs to tell the startup’s story to investors (though with less substance and less focus on business metrics or even deep engagement for now). For B2B startups especially, this is the best signal of product-market fit – a sign that the company is investable.