Thoughts on The Lean Startup

 I had the opportunity to get a review copy of The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries. I learned a few things from the book, but the most surprising thing was that what, on the surface is a book targeted at business people, entrepreneurs in particular, actually had a lot to offer developers and project and product managers who work at all sorts of companies. In addition to reviewing many of the lean principles and practices familiar to anyone who takes agile software development seriously, this book also makes a case for how practices that work for developers (like testing) also make a great deal of sense at the business level. To be sure the tests are different, but the idea of having measurable expectations is something all agile developers who have written a unit or integration test should be familiar with. Eric Ries shows how this same approach makes sense for determining the direction a business should take.

This book provides guidance on the tools to use to answer the question “are you building the right product” quickly. Even if you are on a team in an established company – even if your are building tools for internal use – concepts like the Minimum Viable Product can be useful to you immediately.

In spite of the book’s business oriented focus, it makes clear the importance of good engineering practices to build a sustainable product development environment. This book can benefit those who work in startups and anyone who works on a team that wants to have the impact of a startup.