Build, measure, learn. Those three words are  ingrained in pretty much everything we do here at LitheSpeed. In fact, we’ve been so excited about it that I’m starting to get tired of the “Lean Startup” methodology they describe, though not at all the meaning behind it. We’re incorporating the lessons of Lean Startup to most areas of our business, including our Certified Scrum Product Owner Training and Agile Consulting, specifically with our Lean Product Innovation offering. We’re also launching Build Your MVP, which combines Lean/Agile development and training.

Applying Lean Startup to our work with Sensei was the first step toward all of this. Reading Eric Ries’ book led to an “ah ha” moment, and we refocused on validation/invalidation of ideas, experimented with new ways to get customers’ insights and kept pushing for better ways to gather and use metrics. That learning continues.

The funny thing is that in the midst of our internal Lean Startup craze, we neglected an opportunity that was right in front us. In our company website, we have a golden opportunity to make a real impact on our profits through product discovery. What would happen if we simplify the registration process? Does the registration process even need to be simplified? What smaller changes might have an even bigger impact?

When we relaunched our website as a WordPress site, we based too many of those updates on untested assumptions. We looked at metrics and got some general feedback, but didn’t spend enough time talking to our customers and getting more meaning out of those metrics. We thought the blog deserved prime territory, and that if people read the great content we offer, they’d click on a post and then register for a class or call us in to consult. Did it take long to put the blog on the homepage? No. But the reality hasn’t quite matched that expectation, and we could have found that out much earlier.

The good news is that it’s not too late. By splitting time between existing and new products, we can test different tools and approaches or try the same ones for different kinds of products and services.

This is where you come in. We’re looking for active participants in this product testing. It doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes to get valuable information. This isn’t a survey, though we might try that too. You might actually have to talk to me, because I can learn a lot more about you in a five-minute conversation than a 10-question survey. And if some of you are up for it, I might even ask you to complete a task on the website while sharing your screen. I can get a lot more value out of watching your screen for three minutes than asking you three questions about what you want.

As a participant, you’ll be helping us do what we do better. In return, you’ll see first-hand how we’re implementing the Lean Startup methodology. As we try different tools like Optimizely, CrazyEgg and others, I’ll let you know what’s worked and what hasn’t. I’ll keep you updated on the way we’re working with metrics, interview tactics and more. If you’re interested, email me or check the box next to “Product Discovery” in your email preferences.


Oh, and everyone who dedicates a few minutes to these exercises will be entered into a drawing for one free training and/or a copy of Managing Agile Projects.

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