Constantly decreasing costs, no waste, minimum production time, maximum capacity, unlimited flexibility and high customer satisfaction. Sounds too good to be true?

That’s what Lean Product Development is all about.

What is LPD?

Being able to progressively create amazing products and especially at the lowest possible cost – who wouldn’t want that?

In fact, in today’s business context, efficiency and speed in creating the products that customers want have become a vital issue. To survive, companies need a solid innovation process. This is where lean practices come in handy.

You may have heard of lean methodology. Simply put, it’s a product development philosophy or mindset that revolves around eliminating all unnecessary work or effort until you’re absolutely sure what to do for your customers.

Lean Product Development is anexcellent way to conceptualize and evaluate the value your product provides to users on an ongoing basis. It focuses on a few basic principles:

  • eliminating or reducing waste


  • improving efficiency

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  • shortening lead times
  • maximizing profitability and ROI
  • maximizing profitability and ROI
  • providing more value to the customer

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  • providing more value to the customer by creating new products

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Lean Product Development is different from Agile Product Development because LPD focuses on making more efficient use of resources and processes, while Agile methodology focuses on the fastest way to get things done.

A much-cited example of Lean Product Development and Lean Management is Toyota: in 2000 they used LPD to launch 14 new products.

The same principles apply to Lean Product Development for software: do more with fewer resources. But it requires a considerable amount of focus to achieve this; your team must understand exactly what they are responsible for at each stage of the product development lifecycle.

Lean Product Development also emphasizes continuous learning. As your team analyzes each iteration of the product and adjusts according to those insights, you will gain more experience and knowledge.

Sounds great, but how do you know when it’s valuable to use Lean Product Development instead of other methodologies? It all starts with a solid understanding of the key principles of LPD so you can adopt this approach for your team.

When to use Lean Product Development

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It is important to understand how and when to use Lean Product Development. It’s always good to be more efficient and less wasteful. But there are certain scenarios where Lean Product Development can be especially beneficial:

  • You experience frequent product launch delays. Product launches that are delayed by at least a month. This creates a bad customer experience and gives your brand a bad reputation, which will hurt your bottom line over time.
  • You experience frequent delays in product launches.
  • Your team is burned out. Lean Product Development makes better use of your resources, and that includes your people. A learning environment can also stimulate and motivate your team to get through the tough times together.
  • Your team is burned out.
  • You have knowledge gaps. Because of your emphasis on learning, Lean Product Development can close knowledge gaps and empower your team with more information and skills. When you’re trying to pinpoint the customer value of each new feature you release, these gaps can be potentially disastrous.

The 5 key principles of Lean Product Development

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The foundation of Lean Product Development is based on a set of principles that guide teams through the product development lifecycle. Basically, these principles guide you through defining the value of your final product for both customers and your team

Define value for the customer

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Adopting a customer-centric approach is an LPD principle because it ensures that every feature you launch serves your audience, without wasting time and resources working on something customers don’t really need.

Conduct customer research to understand your customers’ needs and values. Analyze customer feedback to understand what they think and how they interact with your brand.

Once you understand your customers, map their needs to specific product features.

In a lean approach, many product design teams reuse existing software, tools and products for new uses while actively exploring alternatives. This type of reuse not only helps reduce development time, but also gives your team an existing foundation on which to build. But it’s important to be flexible enough to adapt to customer needs.

Identify the value stream and reduce waste

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Understanding and mapping the new functions to the customer’s needs will help you define the end goal. Now it’s time to put the systems together to help you get there.

A Lean Product Development approach is based on an optimized product development process to mitigate risk, reduce bottlenecks and create efficient workflows. To do this, you must set up the plan that the rest of the team will follow.

Standardize processes and create a culture of documentation to keep the team on the same page and enable easier collaboration and handoffs. Integrate tools to synchronize data and connect automations and flows.

Make these value creation steps efficient

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Once you’ve defined these processes, it’s time to make sure they flow smoothly. Integrate the steps and see if bottlenecks persist.

In these retrospectives, your team can easily discuss past tasks and work experiences to identify where changes are needed. Just remember to be honest and straightforward. Optimizing the product development process is only possible when everyone trusts that they will work together toward the same goal.

Another way to synchronize with team members and keep everyone informed of project status is through daily meetings. Meetings provide accountability, transparency and an opportunity for teams to connect.

When you’re ready to launch your new feature, use phased releases. This breaks your launch into a series of smaller steps rather than one massive release and makes it easier to plan, execute projects and constantly check progress, so it’s easy to reverse when necessary.

Empower the team

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An informed, motivated and empowered team drives successful ideas and product launches.

It gives team members the opportunity to own their projects without micromanagement or superior oversight.

Leaders should be transparent and communicative about updates and key business objectives. It is also beneficial to promote communication and collaboration between departments to encourage more information sharing and brainstorming. Use tools like Slack to share updates with everyone and facilitate interaction.

Remember to optimize resource allocation so that workloads are balanced and projects are equipped as needed. Understand the strengths of your people and the needs of the project, so you can assemble the right team for the task.

Learn and improve

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Product team leaders must not only capture and organize information, but proactively share and distribute it within teams. Let them know what the information means and share key insights. Consider setting up monthly or quarterly demos to showcase individual and team accomplishments and dedicate a communication channel to announce updates and new findings.

Give your team the opportunity to independently collect and interpret data.

Concluding

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Lean Product Development empowers teams with knowledge and efficient processes, so they can mitigate product launch delays anddrive higher customer satisfaction and profitability. Teams with limited resources can use this approach to compete with larger companies with high budgets.

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