8 Principles Every Successful Lean Product Team Should Commit To
Here are 9 basic principles that every product team should commit to and use to become more productive and successful.
1. Assign one product team for development, management and design
Agile methods usually have the development team working with a single product owner. This person is assigned to decide what will be built, how it behaves, and whether it has been delivered to specification. Also, the product owner speaks for the outside world (clients) so that the developers can focus on building the software.
In order to develop a project that will satisfy clients and users, the owner’s role should include 3 different responsibilities, divided between a team of owners — each as important as the other.
- Make confident decisions that will satisfy the client and the business, despite conflicting priorities and insufficient data (Product Manager)
- Discover what is possible using the available technology (Developer)
- Deep understanding of the client’s needs (User Experience)
Teams that share responsibility for product ownership will invent better solutions and achieve adherence faster with less internal friction.
2. Define goals and outcomes first
In all aspects, Lean method is goal driven: to understand the client, to solve a problem, etc. It is not enough to aim at a goal – you have to observe the result and note whether you’ve achieved the goal. And if not, you should try again.
3. Share your progress and results
If you work alone, it will be hidden to others. When you work as a team you have to get ideas, decisions, concepts and conclusions out onto the walls where others can keep up. You should share with people what you’re working on, showing progress and goals, defining priorities, or designing new features, so the Lean teams do it on the walls.
4. Honor routines
Determine your methods of work so that they can be repeated, then make those methods a practice. Knowing all the steps that lead to a solution will speed up your organization’s growth. Repeatable methods (routines) will make it easy to teach new employees and allow you to focus on the important things: your customers, their problems, and the solution that you’re crafting.
5. Discover and solve the right problem
The easiest way to start the design is to involve the client and make wireframes or page mockups. The easiest way to develop a product is to list out the features. Both starting points are full with risk. To build the right product, you must know the problems that your clients have and solve them, one at a time, starting with the most important.
6. Produce many possibilities
It happens that in many cases entrepreneurs invest in solutions despite conditions of extreme ambiguity. In this environment, the best possible approach is to create many options, and using your best intuition, choose one or 2 to move forward with. This process is called “taste and focus”. If you work as a team, you will have many brains to contribute to creating many options. Having sessions where everyone brings multiple ideas will help you create a set of options to move with.
7. Uncover hypotheses and test them
If you think about the process objectively, every decision you make is a hypothesis. The backlog order is a hypothesis. The product roadmap is a hypothesis. To see whether your decisions are right or wrong, build a small product to test them. If you were wrong, go back to the pile of hypotheses and try again. In reality, you won’t be able to validate every hypothesis, so test those that are mission-critical.
8. Decide promptly how will you proceed
When choosing what to pursue from a wide set of options, choose precisely, but hold the decision lightly — be prepared to change it or try another solution if it doesn’t work. Abandoning some work is part of the invention process. The unit of progress is validated learning, not the number of features.