How Lean is the Lean Startup?

What does this Lean Startup thing have to do with Lean? What can a startup learn from an established giant like Toyota, or vice versa? Where is my value-stream map, I need a value-stream map, right? The ground between established Lean practice and the Lean Startup movement is full of confusion, but things are far from hopeless – it is possible to form a relatively clear picture of this whole, and that is what this post is all about.

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Lean Startup in large corporations and the shadow of the future

Eric Ries has argued for an entrepreneurial career path to be created within large corporations in order to better promote innovation in his book, The Lean Startup. In this post, I will examine how this idea plays together with the game theory concept of the shadow of the future, which refers to the way our knowledge of future interactions affects our current decisions.

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Lean Startup’s Build-Measure-Learn loop and the PDSA cycle

In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries argues for ways to expand Lean thinking into the realm of startups, into the realm of huge uncertainty.

At the core of his model lies the Build-Measure-Learn loop, which is the key to genuine experimentation and validated learning through working with customers. But what is the relationship between the Build-Measure-Learn loop and the old Lean stalwart, the Plan-Do-Study-Adjust cycle?

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Morieux’s six simple rules to managing complexity, Lean, and social business

Morieux's six simple rules, Lean, and social businessYves Morieux’s and Peter Tollman’s Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated is one of the most interesting books on designing and leading organizations published this year. Morieux has been refining the concept for the past few years, as the rules made their first appearance in his Harward Business Review article in 2011, and featured prominently in his TED talk in October 2013.

Morieux’s basic argument is that complexity is best managed by creating practices that promote autonomy and cooperation, and he advocates six rules, adherence to which results in fostering the correct behaviors for improved performance throughout the company.

In this post, I will examine Morieux’s six rules and compare them to Lean, because, even though Morieux does not mention Lean at all, and sometimes writes about processes in a negative manner, it seems obvious to me that there would be many similarities in companies guided by either set of principles. As a matter of fact, at least the Lego Group has utilized both Morieux’s guidance and Lean in practice.

I will also compare Morieux’s rules to social business, as that comparison will highlight some interesting potential development in the way work is organized.

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