Whenever Lean Product Development (commonly referred to as LPD) is discussed, it is typically in regards to implementing lean principles when developing a product, along with the challenges that also accompany its design and production. It is often utilized in connection with companies and organisations that are beginning to follow the lean startup methodology, which uses hypothesis-based business models that are quickly tested to develop the product in a leaner, more proactive way.
Choosing the right value proposition and polishing up your MVP are just a few of the instrumental steps that must be incorporated when introducing Lean Product Development to your company’s processes. But what exactly encompass these steps, and why are they so important? It all begins with developing the lean process.
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Lean Process Development
Lean process development can be key when those in leadership positions realize that they must take the necessary steps toward innovation to remain powerful players in today’s business environment. Removing any wasteful practices are a wonderful way to start focusing on what can propel the organisation’s process into speedier and more positive outcomes, harnessing the true spirit of entrepreneurship.
Identifying the intrapreneurs (employees working within a company and functioning as if they are entrepreneurs) on a team is one of the first things that a leader can do to begin to work toward innovation and develop a lean process. A few simple ways to spot an intrapreneur is to look for those who:
- Are often disruptive – They like to challenge the current methodology, always looking for more efficient ways to get the job done.
- Like to start new projects – They are typically the first ones to volunteer for or even suggest new projects, and they enjoy being at the helm.
- Take on leadership roles – Even when part of a team, they tend to be natural leaders, solving problems and demonstrating a skill set ordinarily reserved for those at a managerial level.
- Think outside of the box – An intrapreneur will not only see how to cross over a mountain, but how to dynamite through it.
- Will offer assistance – In today’s world, it isn’t often that employees will help out other team members without hoping for acknowledgment, but an intrapreneur will implement whatever is required to ensure success.
Once the intrapreneurs have been identified, they can be included in brainstorming sessions so that they can be exposed to the ideation process and continue lean process development. This is where radical innovations can give way to processes that will inspire growth. It will also begin to introduce a culture of innovation, in which this type of forward thinking quickly becomes normal practice, rather than the exception.
Once a lean process has been incorporated, lean product development will be guaranteed a more successful outcome, as that it will be operating within an environment where it will be nurtured.
Mastering Lean Product Development
There are a number of ideas behind mastering lean product development, but they must be incorporated together to achieve optimal results. This is also the time to begin to more thoroughly understand what the customer genuinely wants in a product and how to make them more valuable.
Understanding the Value Proposition
First, the value proposition must be carefully considered. A value proposition refers to the value that a business will promise to deliver to their customers, should they opt to purchase a product. A value proposition may also be viewed as a declaration of intent, which is basically a statement that will provide an introduction of a company’s brand to its consumers by ensuring that they thoroughly understand the company’s values and goals, how it has chosen to operate and why it is the ideal choice for their business.
When presented correctly, it will compel customers to decide that the company’s offerings are more advantageous than its competitors. It will add more value, or it will solve a problem in a more preferable manner. To take things a step further, a true value proposition will also be sure to demonstrate the particular offerings of a company with which no other can compete, or how a service fills a need in a unique way.
Polish and Position Your MVP
Your MVP (minimal viable product) is just that — a product that is simply ready for ideation, discovery and then incubation. The faster you can receive customer feedback, the better. And the best way to do that is to focus on the value proposition, and ensure that it is the right choice for your intended customer base.
Positioning your MVP will tell the customer exactly what they can expect from the product and how it may even exceed their expectations. What is the basic selling point that will set it apart from similar competitors’ products?
Listen to the Customer
When testing the MVP and developing a strong value proposition, a company must always listen to the customer. Whether utilizing surveys or direct responses to understand the aspects of the product that are successful, as well as those that are not, a company must be prepared to pivot when the information requires it to do so. Functioning on mere intuition will not provide data that can prove a product hypothesis, and it most certainly will not provide the information that will be required to shift focus to a different customer demographic altogether, which can happen quite frequently during the discovery stage.
Be sure to place different options before the customer, allowing them to choose between multiple factors. It also often helps to prepare several alternative value propositions in anticipation of testing results, allowing the process to move much faster once the data has been received.
It’s Not Over ‘Til the Launch
Of course, almost all companies implement what is known as a “soft launch,” so that a product or a service can be offered for a limited time to further investigate its proposed success. This is yet another opportunity to receive customer feedback, which will be much more detailed with the existence of a final product or service. Even then, this allows more time, if needed, to pivot and make any additional tweaks before the full launch.
Of course, this entire process can be simplified with the assistance of a mentor. Additionally, there are numerous other details along the path to successful innovation which you may also wish to explore, with Lean Product Development only part of the equation. Book a free consultation today!