Product releases incur overhead, and so from an efficiency point of view, releasing often leaves less time to devote to building the product. However, waiting too long to release can lead to the ultimate waste: making something nobody wants.
The critical first question for any lean transformation is:
- Which activities create value and which are a form of waste?
- What products do customers really want?
- How will our business grow?
- Who is our customer?
- Which customers should we listen to and which should we ignore?
Sustainable growth follows one of three engine of growth: paid, viral, or sticky. Each engine requires a focus on unique metrics to evaluate the success of new products and prioritise new experiments.
Today’s companies must learn to master a management portfolio of sustainable and disruptive innovation.
Small batches – instead of working in separate departments, engineers and designers would work together side by side on one feature at a time. Whenever that feature was ready to be tested with customers, they immediately would release a new version of the product, which would go live to a relatively small number of people. The team would be able immediately to assess the impact of their work, evaluate its effect on customers, and decide what to do next. For tiny changes, the whole process might be repeated several times per day.
As part of a Continuous Deployment system (CICD) you want to ensure an immune system is in place which detects a problem and then ensures:
- The defective change is removed immediately and automatically
- Everyone on the relevant team is notified of the problem
- The team is blocked from introducing any further changes, preventing the problem from being compounded by future mistakes….
- … until the root cause of the problem is found and fixed.
The ability to learn faster from customers is the essential competitive advantage that start up’s must possess.
Customer often don’t know what they want. Our goal in building products is to be able to run experiments that will help us learn how to build a sustainable business.
As soon as we formulate a hypothesis that we want to test, the product development team should be engineered to design and run this experiment as quickly as possible, using the smallest batch size that will get the job done. The feedback loop is Build-Measure-Learn, our planning really works in the reverse order: we figure out what we need to learn and then work backwards to see what product will work as an experiment to get that learning.
Toyota has built the most advanced learning organisation in history, it has demonstrated an ability to unleash the creativity of its employees, achieve consistent growth, and produce innovative new products relentlessly over the course of nearly a century.