Building Software-based Lean Offerings

Building Lean Offerings in the Business Design process is an essential part when validating new business models. The process of implementing Lean Offerings in Business Design is fundamentally different from other software implementation processes.

The goal of lean offerings is to validate remaining hypotheses in our Business Model with a minimal set of features in a very short time frame (maximum of 3-4 weeks). This approach has some major implications on the structure of the development process (phases), people (roles), technologies, key activities and trade-offs  we need to make. The outcome of this process are (in-)validated hypotheses and valuable insights, which reduce uncertainties before implementing a scalable and market-ready solution. To start implementing lean offerings, it's important that the following preconditions are met:

Duration

3-4 weeks

Phases

Usually we need the following phases to build a Lean Offering:

Building Software-based Lean Offerings

Phase

Duration

Description

Outcome

Design

IT-Deep-Dive Workshop (1-2 days)

2-4 days

The purpose of the setup phase is to define everything which is necessary to start implementing literally the next day. This includes refining the Lean Offering and the corresponding hypotheses & experiments with KPIs, defining roles & responsibilities and building out rough visual drafts (scribbles)

Implement 

one-week sprints

3-4 weeks

The purpose of the Implement phase is to turn prioritised user stories into tangible out (e.g. source code) ion short 1-week sprints. Each sprint starts and ends with a "release call", where progress is reviewed and new use stores will be selected

  • Implemented user stories (deployed daily, reviewed weekly)

  • Continuous DNA check

Validate 


1-2 weeks

In this phase, we are running our experiments and closely look at their KPIs on a dashboard. We refine what we measure und review the KPIs we need to (in-)validate our Hypotheses

  • Generated insights

  • Exploration results

  • (In-)Validated hypotheses

Roles

Usually we need the following roles to build a Lean Offering:

Role

Description

Responsibilities

Lean Offering Master

The Lean Offering Master is the person who sits between the prototyping experts and the project team. He consolidates feedback from the project team, prioritizes user stories and coordinates all stakeholders

  • Proxy between team and prototyping experts

  • Collects and consolidates feedback from the team

  • Controls external partners (agencies...)

  • Does release calls and prioritizes user stories

Prototyping Expert

Prototyping Experts are responsible for the implementation of the lean offering (design, frontend-/ backend development, DevOps etc.) as well as running and analyzing the experiments

  • Implements user stories (design, frontend-/backend, DevOps...)

  • Checks DNA fit 

  • Designs and implements experiments technically (data collection, dashboards, KPIs)

Business Design Coach

The Business Design Coach makes sure that the team works methodically correct and looks for everything regarding The Tip of the Iceberg

  • Ensures the team works methodically correct (focus on hypotheses and experiments, DNA checks...)

  • Makes sure the team communicates and works efficiently

  • Makes sure the sponsor perspective is taken into account

Building Lean Offerings vs. Building Software Products

We often get asked what the differences are in building Lean Offerings in a Business Design process and building software products outside of a Business Design Process. There are some key differences:

Topic

Building Lean Offerings

Builiding Software Products

Process

  • Very short (maximum of 4-6 weeks) and clearly defined

  • Ongoing

Setup

  • Requirements engineering

  • Technical concepts

  • Functional concepts

  • UI concepts

Team

Small Team with Lean Offerings Master, Prototyping Expert and Coach

Large team with designer (UI), architect, frontend engineer, backend engineer, Scrum Master, DevOps engineer, tester

Technologies

  • Full-Stack frameworks

  • Monolithic

  • Custom solutions

  • Specialized technologies

  • Micro services

Communication

  • Around Hypotheses & Experiments

  • Instant

  • Business Model (DNA-fit)

  • Scrum meetings

  • Technical details

  • Features

Focus

  • Hypotheses & experiments

  • Speed

  • Learning

  • Stability

  • Security

  • Scalability (Performance)

  • Sustainability

  • Testability

Tools & Materials

Instructions for Coaches

  • Make sure the whole team doesn't lose focus: Building lean offerings is about testing hypotheses

  • Make sure the team involves stakeholders at an early stage (sponsor, legal, marketing, external agencies...)

  • Make sure your lean offerings reflect the DNA of your business model

  • Make sure the team stays within the given time frame (maximum of 3-4 weeks): Reduce the scope if necessary, but never extend the time frame