The Startup Product Roadmap – Maturing your Software Idea into a Scalable Product

Planning to launch a startup around a new software product? The Software Product Roadmap will help you ask the right questions, talk to the right people, and make the right moves every step of the way. Read more on The Startup Product Roadmap – Maturing your Software Idea into a Scalable Product…

Minimum Viable Product: Pick Any Two

As the minimum viable product idea becomes mainstream, I’m starting to hear “MVP” used to justify any minimal effort. It’s great that people want to benefit from being lean and agile, but it’s also absolutely vital that an MVP answers your important questions. There are many kinds of MVPs and most of them are anything but minimal effort. Thinking of an MVP as minimal effort risks wasting the effort completely.

Finding the Sweet Spot

In software we often balance competing goals. I’m going to deconstruct the MVP as tension between three different kinds of questions. Thinking this way helps you prioritize what you want out of your MVPs. It’s more useful than trying to find the sweet spot on a Venn diagram of potential products. Read more on Minimum Viable Product: Pick Any Two…

Balanced Team is Coming to Grand Rapids in 2015

Update February 2015: Tickets for the event are now on sale! Early bird tickets are available through mid-February; standard tickets will be available after that. Please visit the Balanced Team 2015 Grand Rapids website for more information. We’re excited you’ll be joining us. See you soon!

Many teams and organizations struggle with the question, “How can creative teams work together to produce valuable, validated outcomes in an environment of extreme uncertainty?” This is a tough question — and surely has no single answer — but it’s one that the Balanced Team group has been addressing head-on since 2009 through meetups, mailing lists, and conference presentations.

Balanced Team events have been held in New York, Boulder, Austin, and San Francisco in the last few years, and now it’s coming back to Grand Rapids. Brittany Hunter, Gail Swanson, Rick Harlow, Lane Halley, and I are excited to announce a Grand Rapids Balanced Team Summit on June 13 and 14, 2015!

We’ll be gathering around 100 multidisciplinary software practitioners with traditional design, business, and engineering backgrounds for two days of talks, fishbowls, and workshops. We’ll again be tackling the above question. Read more on Balanced Team is Coming to Grand Rapids in 2015…

Less Is More – 4 Benefits of Starting with a Minimum Viable Product

Eric Ries defines a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as

“…a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

An MVP usually targets early adopters and includes only the minimum amount of features to validate your value proposition hypotheses.

A Caveat

The practice of starting with an MVP is a lean startup tactic. To execute an MVP well, I suggest you study the principles behind it and the Lean Startup Methodology as a whole. Understanding Lean Startup principles will also be a great help as you build your company.

When Less Is More

Through years of experience helping clients build products with Atomic Object, I’ve found most product managers and entrepreneurs tend to overbuild their first product release. This is often comes from a fear of underbuilding – they want to know that they’re product is compelling enough for their users, and they don’t want to give competitors a chance to leap-frog them. I also believe overbuilding can be partially motived from another fear — a subconscious desire to put off the release and the prospect that your idea might fail.

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An Operations Mindset Is at Odds with Innovation

Atomic Object has helped many companies design and implement new software products. I’ve noticed different environments at companies that are primed for innovation and companies that are not.

Operational Mindset

Roger Martin’s knowledge funnel concept describes how business practices become more algorithmic as organizations scale and strive for efficiency. As companies scale, their technology departments develop an operational mindset and become more focused on efficiency and stability than on creating opportunity.

The Knowledge Funnel from Roger Martin’s “The Science of Art and Business”
(Originally published in Rotman Magazine, Winter 2009.)

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