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Lean Startup

Lean Startup

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"Lean startup" is a term coined by Eric Ries
Eric Ries
Eric Ries is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author recognized for pioneering the Lean Startup movement, a new-business strategy which directs startup companies to allocate their resources as efficiently as possible. He is also a well-known blogger within the technology entrepreneur...

, his method advocates the creation of rapid prototypes designed to test market assumptions, and uses customer feedback to evolve them much faster than via more traditional product development practices, such as the Waterfall model
Waterfall model
The waterfall model is a sequential design process, often used in software development processes, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards through the phases of Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design, Construction, Testing, Production/Implementation and Maintenance.The waterfall...

. It is not uncommon to see Lean Startups release new code to production multiple times a day, often using a practice known as Continuous Deployment.

According to the New York Times, "The term 'lean start-up' was coined by Mr. Ries, 31, an engineer, entrepreneur and blogger. His inspiration, he says, was the lean manufacturing
Lean manufacturing
Lean manufacturing, lean enterprise, or lean production, often simply, "Lean," is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination...

 process, fine-tuned in Japanese factories decades ago and focused on eliminating any work or investment that doesn’t produce value for customers."

Lean startup is sometimes described as Lean Thinking applied to the entrepreneurial process. A central tenet of Lean Thinking is to reduce waste. Lean startup processes reduce waste by increasing the frequency of contact with real customers, therefore testing and avoiding incorrect market assumptions as early as possible. This approach attempts to improve on historical entrepreneurial tactics by reducing the work required to assess assumptions about the market, and to decrease the time it takes a business to find market traction. This is referred to as Minimum Viable Product
Minimum viable product
In product development, the Minimum Viable Product or MVP is a strategy used for fast and quantitative market testing of a product or product feature, popularized by Eric Ries for web applications.- Description :...


In The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development, Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits add a fourth element, and that is the use of powerful, low-cost and easy-to-use analytics. While some characteristics of lean startups have been practiced for years, the confluence of these trends is a recent phenomenon that increases the speed of iteration or "number of learning cycles per dollar", as a business homes in on a product-market fit.

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