The lean start-up: what time & materials do you need?

Previously, we wrote about startup business models. This time, we would like to highlight how a lean startup can fit Time & Material work format. So, if you are looking for an effective methodology to help you launch your start-up, then we thoroughly recommend the lean start-up method!

In this article, we will look at how the lean start-up methodology works and the resources you can utilize to become a lean start-up professional.

Whether you are launching a SaaS website or updating your mobile app, we hope this guide will provide some insight.

What is the lean start-up methodology? You are launched

What is the lean start-up methodology?

“The Lean Start-up is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision, and great ambition, all at the same time.” – Eric Ries

Eric Ries devised the lean start-up methodology in 2010. This methodology focuses on optimizing the amount of time needed to ensure a product or service is viable, as well as the time required to launch. The ultimate aim of lean start-up methodology is to get your product or service to your target audience as quickly as possible.

Lean start-up methodology can be split into three parts:

  1. Find the business idea: identifying something that solves a customer’s problem
  2. Execute the business idea: building your product or service
  3. Validate the business idea: getting feedback on your product or service and acting on it

Lean start-up methodology places a lot of emphasis on visual learning tools, which make it easier to review and present information.

If you want to learn more about lean start-up methodology, Eric Ries’ book ‘The Learn Start-up’ is a great read.

Tools and resources that the lean start-up methodology uses with Time & Material format. Urlaunched

Tools and resources that the lean start-up methodology uses with Time & Material format

If you want to utilize a lean start-up methodology, there are lots of useful techniques that will be of benefit.

Here are some of our favorites.

Canvas. Lean Startup with Time and Material. You are launched

Lean canvas model for Agile app building

The lean canvas model is a way that you can get your business plan on paper and quickly generate ideas for business models and campaigns. You can then share these ideas with stakeholders and potential investors.

You should be able to complete The lean canvas quickly, ideally in less than half an hour. Ideas to include in your lean canvas include:

  • The problems your customers face
  • The solutions your product or service will fix
  • Your unique value proposition and how your product or service puts you at an advantage over your competitors (your ‘unfair advantage’)
  • The metrics you will measure to track the success of your launch
  • The costs you need to factor in when pricing your product or service
  • How you will generate revenue
  • Your target audience
  • How you will market your product or service

Examples of lean canvas methodologies

Gantt chart sample. Gantt Chart as Agile Planning

Gantt Chart as Agile Planning

When we are talking about Time & Material and project planning, a Gantt project chart lets you track a project in full by:

  • Identifying tasks and who is responsible for completing them
  • Determining which tasks are dependent on one another
  • Working out how long it will take to complete a project from beginning to end in the shortest time. This is known as the ‘critical path.
  • Identifying at a glance if a delay on a task will have an impact on the overall project

You can use a Gantt chart to help you launch your product or service in the shortest possible time, and make sure it launches to budget.

You can create your Gantt chart in specialist programs like Microsoft Project, or use a spreadsheet tool like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel.

A guide to creating and developing a Gannt chart

Minimum viable product (MVP) is a core of Lean Startup. You are launched

Minimum viable product (MVP) is a core of Lean Startup

A minimum viable product is a basic, no-frills version of your prospective product or mobile app that you can use to gather feedback. You can also use it to generate interest from investors. 

Eric Ries defined an MVP as a new product that allows a company to collect the most information with the least effort. According to lean start-up methodology, one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make is launching an initial product full of features. However, this adds a lot of risks. As you may spend a lot of time working on a product that your customers aren’t interested in buying.

We’ve described how to use MVP in software development here. But that’s not all. Check the sample who to cut features down to MVP here.

Story points (also known as estimation points and agile estimation)

Story points (also known as estimation points and agile estimation)

Sometimes you don’t always have all the information you need to move forward with your product launch. 

With story points, your team works together to take an approximate estimation of how long an effort a task will take. This allows you to move forward with projects more quickly, in line with the lean start-up methodology. You can see Story Points frequently in the project management system called Agile.

Some popular estimation techniques include:

  • Planning poker. Points are assigned based on the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100). Someone reads out a task, and team members assign a number to the task. The higher the number, the more time and effort needs to be dedicated to the task. Alternatively, some are using t-shirt sizes to gauge the size of a project instead (XS, S, M, L, XL)
  • Dot voting. This system allows you to prioritize tasks. Each member of the team has five votes and is told to assign them to the tasks they see as the highest priority. The votes are then added up. If there is a tie, the team votes again until there is a consensus
  • Affinity mapping. The best way to carry out affinity mapping is to place two cards on opposite sides of a wall – one that says ‘small’ and one that says ‘large’. Team members then place tasks on the wall, in order of estimated size.

In conclusion: Time & Material is the best model for flexibility

Did you like our article regarding Time & Material work format? Then use it in your startup creation 🙂

If you are looking for more information about the lean start-up methodology and how you can apply it to your new start-up, You Are Launched can help. We have been working with lean start-ups since 2014, helping them to launch successful products and services, as well as attract investment

Contact us today to see how we can work together on your start-up launch

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