Cover image for Running Lean, 2nd Edition

Book description

We live in an age of unparalleled opportunity for innovation. We’re building more products than ever before, but most of them fail—not because we can’t complete what we set out to build, but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product. What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success.

In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a "product/market fit" for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.

Table of Contents

  1. Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works
  2. Dedication
  3. Praise for Running Lean, Second Edition
  4. Foreword
  5. Preface
    1. Safari® Books Online
    2. We’d Like to Hear from You
    3. Attributions and Permissions
  6. Introduction
    1. What Is Running Lean?
      1. Why Are Startups Hard?
      2. Is There a Better Way?
        1. Customer Development
        2. Lean Startup
        3. Bootstrapping
      3. What Will This Book Teach You?
      4. Is This Book for You?
      5. How Is This Book Organized?
        1. Part 1: Roadmap
        2. Part 2: Document Your Plan A
        3. Part 3: Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
        4. Part 4: Systematically Test Your Plan
    2. About Me
      1. Why This Book?
      2. Field-Tested
    3. Disclaimers
      1. Practice Trumps Theory
      2. There Are No Silver Bullets
  7. I. Roadmap
    1. 1. Meta-Principles
      1. Step 1: Document Your Plan A
        1. There Is an “I” in Vision
        2. Capture Your Business Model Hypotheses
        3. Your Product Is NOT “the Product”
      2. Step 2: Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
        1. The Three Stages of a Startup
          1. Stage 1: Problem/Solution Fit
          2. Stage 2: Product/Market Fit
          3. Stage 3: Scale
        2. Pivot Before Product/Market Fit, Optimize After
        3. Where Does Funding Fit into All This?
      3. Step 3: Systematically Test Your Plan
        1. What Is an Experiment?
        2. The Iteration Meta-Pattern
    2. 2. Running Lean Illustrated
      1. Case Study: How I Wrote Iterated This Book
        1. Understand the Problem
        2. Define the Solution
        3. Validate Qualitatively
        4. Verify Quantitatively
        5. Is the Book Finished?
  8. II. Document Your Plan A
    1. 3. Create Your Lean Canvas
      1. Brainstorm Possible Customers
      2. Sketching a Lean Canvas
        1. Problem and Customer Segments
        2. Unique Value Proposition
          1. How to craft a unique value proposition
        3. Solution
        4. Channels
          1. Freer versus paid
          2. Inbound versus outbound
          3. Direct versus automated
          4. Direct versus indirect
          5. Retention before referral
        5. Revenue Streams and Cost Structure
          1. Revenue streams
          2. Cost structure
        6. Key Metrics
          1. Acquisition
          2. Activation
          3. Retention
          4. Revenue
          5. Referral
        7. Unfair Advantage
      3. Now It’s Your Turn
  9. III. Identify the Riskiest Parts of Your Plan
    1. 4. Prioritize Where to Start
      1. What Is Risk?
      2. Rank Your Business Models
      3. Seek External Advice
    2. 5. Get Ready to Experiment
      1. Assemble a Problem/Solution Team
        1. Forget Traditional Departments
        2. Start with the Smallest Team Possible, but No Smaller
          1. The three must-haves: development, design, and marketing
        3. Be Wary of Outsourcing Your Problem/Solution Team
      2. Running Effective Experiments
        1. Maximize for Speed, Learning, and Focus
        2. Identify a Single Key Metric or Goal
        3. Do the Smallest Thing Possible to Learn
        4. Formulate a Falsifiable Hypothesis
        5. Validate Qualitatively, Verify Quantitatively
        6. Make Sure You Can Correlate Results Back to Specific Actions
        7. Create Accessible Dashboards
        8. Communicate Learning Early and Often
      3. Applying the Iteration Meta-Pattern to Risks
        1. What About Unfair Advantage?
  10. IV. Systematically Test Your Plan
    1. 6. Get Ready to Interview Customers
      1. No Surveys or Focus Groups, Please
        1. Are Surveys Good for Anything?
      2. But Talking to People Is Hard
      3. Finding Prospects
      4. Preemptive Strikes and Other Objections (or Why I Don’t Need to Interview Customers)
    2. 7. The Problem Interview
      1. What You Need to Learn
      2. Testing the Problem
      3. Formulate Falsifiable Hypotheses
      4. Conduct Problem Interviews
        1. Welcome (Set the Stage)
        2. Collect Demographics (Test Customer Segment)
        3. Tell a Story (Set Problem Context)
        4. Problem Ranking (Test Problem)
        5. Explore Customer’s Worldview (Test Problem)
        6. Wrapping Up (the Hook and Ask)
        7. Document Results
      5. Do You Understand the Problem?
        1. What Are the Problem Interview Exit Criteria?
    3. 8. The Solution Interview
      1. What You Need to Learn
      2. Testing Your Solution
      3. Testing Your Pricing
        1. Don’t Ask Customers What They’ll Pay, Tell Them
        2. Don’t Lower Signup Friction, Raise It
        3. The Solution Interview as AIDA
        4. How Is This Different from a Pitch?
      4. Formulate Testable Hypotheses
      5. Conduct Solution Interviews
        1. Welcome (Set the Stage)
        2. Collect Demographics (Test Customer Segment)
        3. Tell a Story (Set Problem Context)
        4. Demo (Test Solution)
        5. Test Pricing (Revenue Streams)
        6. Wrapping Up (the Ask)
        7. Document Results
      6. Do You Have a Problem Worth Solving?
        1. What Are the Solution Interview Exit Criteria?
    4. 9. Get to Release 1.0
      1. Product Development Gets in the Way of Learning
      2. Reduce your mVP
      3. Get Started Deploying Continuously
      4. Define your activation Flow
        1. The Anatomy of an Activation Flow
      5. Build a Marketing Website
        1. The Anatomy of a Marketing Website
        2. The Landing Page Deconstructed
    5. 10. Get Ready to Measure
      1. The Need for Actionable Metrics
        1. What Is an Actionable Metric?
      2. Metrics Are People First
      3. Simple Funnel Reports Aren’t Enough
      4. Say Hello to the Cohort
      5. How to Build Your Conversion Dashboard
    6. 11. The MVP Interview
      1. What You Need to Learn
      2. Formulate Testable Hypotheses
      3. Conduct MVP Interviews
        1. Welcome (Set the Stage)
        2. Show Landing Page (Test UVP)
        3. Show Pricing Page (Test Pricing)
        4. Signup and Activation (Test Solution)
        5. Wrapping Up (Keep Feedback Loop Open)
        6. Document Results
    7. 12. Validate Customer Lifecycle
      1. Make Feedback Easy
      2. Troubleshoot Customer Trials
        1. Acquisition and Activation
        2. Retention
        3. Revenue
        4. Referral
      3. Are You Ready to Launch?
        1. What Are the Launch Criteria?
        2. 3, 2, 1 ... Launch!
    8. 13. Don’t Be a Feature Pusher
      1. Features Must Be Pulled, Not Pushed
      2. Implement an 80/20 Rule
      3. Constrain Your Features Pipeline
      4. Process Feature Requests
      5. The Feature Lifecycle
        1. How to Track Features on a Kanban Board
        2. The Process Steps Explained
    9. 14. Measure Product/Market Fit
      1. What Is Product/Market Fit?
      2. The Sean Ellis Test
      3. Focus on the “Right” Macro
      4. What About Revenue?
      5. Have You Built Something People Want?
        1. What Are the Early Traction Exit Criteria?
      6. What About the Market in Product/Market Fit?
        1. Start by Identifying Your Key Engine of Growth
      7. Summary
        1. Design Pattern for a Network Effects Product
        2. Design Pattern for a Multisided (Marketplace) Product
    10. 15. Conclusion
      1. What’s Next?
        1. Life After Product/Market Fit
        2. Did I Keep My Promise?
        3. Keep In Touch
      2. Resources
        1. Books
        2. Blogs
        3. Tools
  11. A. Bonus Material
    1. How to Build a Low-Burn Startup
    2. Why Premature Fundraising Is a Form of Waste
    3. How to Achieve Flow in a Lean Startup
      1. The Conflicting Pull for Time
      2. Creating Daily Flow
      3. Creating Weekly Flow
      4. Eliminating Software Waste
    4. How to Set Pricing for a SaaS Product
      1. What About Freemium?
      2. The Problems with Freemium
      3. How to Approach Freemium
    5. How to Build a Teaser Page
      1. How to Write a Sales Letter
      2. How to Create a Teaser Landing Page
    6. How to Get Started with Continuous Deployment
      1. Commit
      2. Test
      3. Deploy
      4. Monitor
    7. How to Build a Conversion Dashboard
      1. How to Collect Data
      2. How to Visualize Your Conversion Dashboard
      3. How to Track Retention
  12. Index
  13. About the Author
  14. Copyright