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Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.
Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers entrepreneurs—in companies of all sizes—a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.
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“The Lean Startup has a kind of inexorable logic, and Ries’ recommendations come as a bracing slap in the face to would-be tech moguls: Test your ideas before you bet the bank on them. Don’t listen to what focus groups say; watch what your customers do. Start with a modest offering and build on the aspects of it that prove valuable. Expect to get it wrong, and stay flexible (and solvent) enough to try again and again until you get it right. It’s a message that rings true to grizzled startup vets who got burned in the Great Bubble and to young filmgoers who left The Social Network with visions of young Zuckerberg dancing in their heads. It resonates with Web entrepreneurs blessed with worldwide reach and open source code. It’s the perfect philosophy for an era of limited resources, when the noun optimism is necessarily preceded by the adjective cautious.” —Wired
“I make all our managers read The Lean Startup.” —Jeffery Immelt, CEO, General Electric
“Eric has created a science where previously there was only art. A must read for every serious entrepreneur—and every manager interested in innovation.”
—Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, Opsware Inc. and Netscape
“This book should be mandatory reading for entrepreneurs, and the same goes for managers who want better entrepreneurial instincts. Ries’s book is loaded with fascinating stories—not to mention countless practical principles you’ll dearly wish you’d known five years ago.” —Dan Heath, co-author of Switch and Made to Stick
“Ries shows us how to cut through the fog of uncertainty that surrounds startups. His approach is rigorous; his prescriptions are practical and proven in the field. The Lean Startup will change the way we think about entrepreneurship. As startup success rates improve, it could do more to boost global economic growth than any management book written in years.” —Tom Eisenmann, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School
“The Lean Startup is the book whose lessons I want every entrepreneur to absorb and apply. I know of no better guide to improve the odds of a startup’s success.”
—Mitchell Kapor, Founder, Lotus Development Corp.
“At Asana, we’ve been lucky to benefit from Eric’s advice firsthand; this book will enable him to help many more entrepreneurs answer the tough questions about their business.”
—Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook and Asana
“Ries’ splendid book is the essential template to understand the crucial leadership challenge of our time: initiating and managing growth!” —Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California and author of the recently published, Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.
“The Lean Startup isn’t just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business, it’s about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world’s great problems. It’s ultimately an answer to the question ‘How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn’t?'”
— Tim O’Reilly, CEO O’Reilly Media
“Eric Ries unravels the mysteries of entrepreneurship and reveals that magic and genius are not the necessary ingredients for success but instead proposes a scientific process that can be learnt and replicated. Whether you are a startup entrepreneur or corporate entrepreneur there are important lessons here for you on your quest toward the new and unknown.” —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
“The roadmap for innovation for the 21st century. The ideas in The Lean Startup will help create the next industrial revolution.” —Steve Blank, lecturer, Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley Haas Business School
“The key lesson of this book is that start-ups happen in the present—that messy place between the past and the future where nothing happens according to PowerPoint. Ries’s ‘read and react’ approach to this sport, his relentless focus on validated learning, the never-ending anxiety of hovering between ‘persevere’ and ‘pivot’, all bear witness to his appreciation for the dynamics of entrepreneurship.” —Geoffrey Moore, Author, Crossing the Chasm
“If you are an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, read this book. If you are just curious about entrepreneurship, read this book. Starting Lean is today’s best practice for innovators. Do yourself a favor and read this book.” —Randy Komisar, founding director of TiVo and author of the bestselling The Monk and the Riddle
“How do you apply the 50 year old ideas of Lean to the fast-paced, high uncertainty world of Startups? This book provides a brilliant, well-documented, and practical answer. It is sure to become a management classic.” —Don Reinertsen, author of The Principles of Product Development Flow
“The Lean Startup is a foundational must-read for founders, enabling them to reduce product failures by bringing structure and science to what is usually informal and an art. It provides actionable ways to avoid product-learning mistakes, rigorously evaluate early signals from the market through validated learning, and decide whether to persevere or to pivot, all challenges that heighten the chance of entrepreneurial failure.” —Professor Noam Wasserman, Harvard Business School
“One of the best and most insightful new books on entrepreneurship and management I’ve ever read. Should be required reading not only for the entrepreneurs that I work with, but for my friends and colleagues in various industries who have inevitably grappled with many of the challenges that The Lean Startup addresses.” —Eugene J. Huang, Partner, True North Venture Partners
“What would happen if businesses were built from the ground up to learn what their customers really wanted? The Lean Startup is the foundation for reimagining almost everything about how work works. Don’t let the word startup in the title confuse you. This is a cookbook for entrepreneurs in organizations of all sizes.” —Roy Bahat, President, IGN Entertainment
“Every founding team should stop for 48 hours and read Lean Startup. Seriously stop and read this book now.” —Scott Case, CEO Startup America Partnership
“In business, a ‘lean’ enterprise is sustainable efficiency in action. Eric Ries’ revolutionary Lean Startup method will help bring your new business idea to an end result that is successful and sustainable. You’ll find innovative steps and strategies for creating and managing your own startup while learning from the real-life successes and collapses of others. This book is a must read for entrepreneurs who are truly ready to start something great!” —Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute Entrepreneur
“Every entrepreneur responsible for innovation within their organization should read this book. It entertainingly and meticulously develops a rigorous science for the innovation process through the methodology of “lean thinking”. This methodology provides novel and powerful tools for companies to improve the speed and efficiency of their innovation processes through minimum viable products, validated learning, innovation accounting, and actionable metrics. These tools will help organizations large and small to sustain innovation by effectively leveraging the time, passion, and skill of their talent pools.”—Andrea Goldsmith, professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and cofounder of several startups
“Business is too important to be left to luck. Eric reveals the rigorous process that trumps luck in the invention of new products and new businesses. We’ve made this a centerpiece of how teams work in my company . . . it works! This book is the guided tour of the key innovative practices used inside Google, Toyota, and Facebook, that work in any business.” —Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned. He co-founded and served as CTO of IMVU, his third startup, and has had plenty of startup failures along the way. He is a frequent speaker at business events, has advised a number of startups, large companies, and venture capital firms on business and product strategy, and is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School. His Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review, the Huffington Post, and many blogs. He lives in San Francisco.
Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
Building a startup is an exercise in institution building; thus, it necessarily involves management. This often comes as a surprise to aspiring entrepreneurs, because their associations with these two words are so diametrically opposed. Entrepreneurs are rightly wary of implementing traditional management practices early on in a startup, afraid that they will invite bureaucracy or stifle creativity.
Entrepreneurs have been trying to fit the square peg of their unique problems into the round hole of general management for decades. Asa result, many entrepreneurs take a “just do it” attitude, avoiding all forms of management, process, and discipline. Unfortunately, this approach leads to chaos more often than it does to success. I should know: my first startup failures were all of this kind (as we saw in the Introduction).
The tremendous success of general management over the last century has provided unprecedented material abundance, but those management principles are ill suited to handle the chaos and uncertainty that startups must face.
I believe that entrepreneurship requires a managerial discipline to harness the tremendous entrepreneurial opportunity we have been given.
There are more entrepreneurs operating today than at any previous time in history. This has been made possible by dramatic changes inthe global economy. To site but one example, one often hears commentators lament the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States over the previous two decades, but one rarely hears about a corresponding loss of manufacturing capability. That’s because total manufacturing output in the United States is increasing (by 15 percent in the last decade) even as jobs continue to be lost (see the charts below). In effect, the huge productivity increases made possible by modern management and technology have created more productive capacity than firms know what to do with.1
We are living through an unprecedented worldwide entrepreneurial renaissance, but this opportunity is laced with peril. Because we lack a coherent management paradigm for new innovative ventures, we’re throwing our excess capacity around with wild abandon. Despite this lack of rigor, we are finding some ways to make money, but for every success there are far too many failures: products pulled from shelves mere weeks after being launched, high-profile startups lauded in the press and forgotten a few months later, and new products that wind up being used by nobody. What makes these failures particularly painful is not just the economic damage done to individual employees, companies, and investors; they are also a colossal waste of our civilization’s most precious resource: the time, passion, and skill of its people. The Lean Startup movement is dedicated to preventing these failures.
THE ROOTS OF THE LEAN STARTUP
The Lean Startup takes its name from the lean manufacturing revolution that Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo are credited with developing at Toyota. Lean thinking is radically altering the way supply chains and production systems are run. Among its tenets are drawing on the knowledge and creations of individual workers, the shrinking of batch sizes, just-in-time production and inventory control, and an acceleration of cycle times. It taught the world the difference between value-creating activities and waste and showed how to build quality into products from the inside out.
The Lean Startup adapts these ideas to the context of entrepreneurship, proposing that entrepreneurs judge their progress differently from the way other kinds of ventures do. Progress in manufacturing is measured by the production of high-quality physical goods. As we’ll see in Chapter 3, the Lean Startup uses a different unit of progress, called validated learning. With scientific learning as our yardstick, we can discover and eliminate the tremendous waste that is plaguing entrepreneurship.
A comprehensive theory of entrepreneurship should address all the functions of an early-stage venture: vision and concept, product development, marketing and sales, scaling up, partnerships and distribution, and structure and organizational design. It has to provide startup ventures with a method for measuring progress in the context of extreme uncertainty. It can give entrepreneurs clear guidance on how to make the many trade-off decisions they face: whether and when to invest in process; formulating, planning, and creating infrastructure; when to go it alone and when to partner; when to respond to feedback and when to stick with vision; and how and when to invest in scaling the business. Most of all, it must allow entrepreneurs to make testable predictions.
For example, consider the recommendation that you build cross-functional teams and hold them accountable to what we call learning milestones instead of organizing your company into strict functional departments (marketing, sales, information technology, human resources, etc.) that hold people accountable for performing well in their specialized areas (see Chapter 7). Perhaps you agree with this recommendation, or perhaps you are skeptical. Either way, if you decide to implement it, I predict that you pretty quickly will get feedback from your teams that the new process is reducing their productivity. They will ask to go back to the old way of working, in which they had the opportunity to “stay efficient” by working in larger batches and passing work between departments.
It’s safe to predict this result, and not just because I have seen it many times in the companies I work with. It is a straightforward prediction of the Lean Startup theory itself. When people are used to evaluating their productivity locally, they feel that a good day is one in which they did their job well all day. When I worked as a programmer, that meant eight straight hours of programming without interruption. That was a goodday. In contrast, if I was interrupted with questions, process, or—heaven forbid—meetings, I felt bad. What did I really accomplish that day? Code and product features were tangible to me; I could see them, understand them, and show them off. Learning, by contrast, is frustratingly intangible.
The Lean Startup asks people to start measuring their productivity differently. Because startups often accidentally build something nobody wants, it doesn’t matter much if they do it on time and on budget. The goal of a startup is to figure out the right thing to build—the thing customers want and will pay for—as quickly as possible. In other words, the Lean Startup is a new way of looking at the development of innovative new products that emphasizes fast iteration and customer insight, a huge vision, and great ambition, all at the same time.
Henry Ford is one of the most successful and celebrated entrepreneurs of all time. Since the idea of management has been bound up with the history of the automobile since its first days, I believe it is fitting to use the automobile as a metaphor for a startup.
An internal combustion automobile is powered by twoimportant and very different feedback loops. The first feedback loop is deep inside the engine. Before Henry Ford was a famous CEO, he was an engineer. He spent his days and nights tinkering in his garage with the precise mechanics of getting the engine cylinders to move. Each tiny explosion within the cylinder provides the motive force to turn the wheels but also drives the ignition of the next explosion. Unless the timing of this feedback loop is managed precisely, the engine will sputter and break down.
Startups have a similar engine that I call the engine of…
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5,0 von 5 Sternen
Sehr gut! Very good!
Rezension aus Deutschland vom 1. Dezember 2016
German: Mein Freund hat sich dieses Buch bestellt, da er auch in der Selbstständigkeit tätig ist. Er kaufte es nach Empfehlung eines Freundes, der in einem Start-Up tätig ist. In diesem Start-Up benutzen sie das Buch wie die Bibel, sagte er. Wenn sie sich in etwas unsicher sind, wird immer wieder dort nachgeschlagen.Er hat es in einem Ruck durchgelesen. Es sei sehr interessant gut zu lesen (Man kennt das ja, das sich manchmal einige Bücher wie ein Kaugummi hinziehen)English: My boyfriend bought this book after he got a recommendation from a friend. This friend reads it often, uses it like a bible :)He is very satisfied with is, he said the book is interesting and easy to read. Highly recommended, not just for start ups, also as an freelancer/ self employee.
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Eric Ries gebührt der Respekt, mit seinem Buch dazu beigetragen zu haben, dass Begriffe wie “minimal viable product” oder der Entwicklungszyklus “build-measure-learn” zum Standardrepertoire agiler Prozesse gehören.
Manchmal ertappe ich mich jedoch bei dem Gedanken, dass mit den Begriffen nur zu gerne auch angegeben wird, ohne wirklich zu wissen, was originär damit gemeint war oder gar die Unternehmensprozesse tatsächlich danach ausgerichtet werden.
Deshalb: es lohnt – wie in den allermeisten Fällen – sich mit der Originalliteratur auseinanderzusetzen, um Zusammenhänge zu durchdringen anstatt sie nur an der Oberfläche zu tangieren.
Auch wenn das Werk inzwischen 9 Jahre alt ist – eine Ewigkeit in unserer schnelllebigen Welt – hat es nichts an Aktualität eingebüsst. Der Autor entfaltet für Startups mit seinem Vorgehen „VISION (Start – Define – Learn – Experiment) – STEER (Leap – Test – Measure – Pivot or Persevere) – ACCELERATE (Batch – Grow – Adapt – Innovate)“ einen fundierten Weg, um auch heute noch erfolgreich Produkte bzw. Services am Markt platzieren zu können.
Sympathisch ist der Gedanke, dass Unternehmertum und Startup-Mentalität nicht der Garage vorbehalten sind, sondern überall stattfinden können. Ries setzt sich für den Begriff des Entrepreneurs statt des Managers ein, um dies deutlich zu machen.
Darüberhinaus macht er eindrücklich klar, weshalb „validated learning“ ein MUSS für Neugründungen ist, die sich am Markt auch langfristig durchsetzen wollen.
Auch seine vier zentralen Fragen (S. 64) würden auch heute noch so manche Produktentwicklung, die völlig am Markt vorbeigeht, vermeiden. Man sollte diese als Poster neben die gängigen Scrum- und Kanban-Boards hängen, um täglich daran erinnert zu werden und sich danach auszurichten.
Wie eingangs beschrieben ist der „Feedback Loop: build-measure-learn“ in zahlreichen Produktentwicklungsteams heute EIGENTLICH Standard, wird aber im Ries‘schen Sinne nicht konsequent gelebt. Ries zeigt auf, welche Daten sich zu messen lohnen, wie man eigene Hypothesen widerlegen kann und sollte, gerade wenn man ihnen zu gerne Glauben schenken mag.
Trotz zahlreicher eindrücklicher Beispiele, die über die typischen Apples und Facebooks hinausgehen, wäre eine Art Matrix, mit welcher man das eigene Geschäftsmodell noch besser messen und Erfolge suchen bzw. Misserfolge schnell vermeiden kann, hilfreich. So bleibt zwar das Verständnis des theoretischen Rahmens, aber einen praktikablen Bezug, was die Ergebnisse der gemessenen Fakten bedeuten, bleibt offen. Das ist aufgrund der unterschiedlichen Geschäftsmodelle nachvollziehbar, als Startup-Unternehnmer*in oder Investor*in entstehen natürlich genau an dieser Stelle die entscheidenden Fragen.
Dennoch: Auch nach vielen Jahren noch immer ein fundamentales Werk, das den Zeitinvest lohnt, um die daraus entstandene Entwicklung zu verstehen und vor allem, maßgebliche Hinweise für erfolgreiches “Entrepreneurship” abzuleiten.
We learn from experience. We like to share our ideas in order to warn others, to teach them thinking differently. That is what Eric Ries an I have in common. I had first Start-Up experiences hands on in 1994 to 1996 and I rode my book about 10 years later because I saw the same mistakes occur over the years on so many start-ups. Eric is the next generation but he published his books also 10 years after his first start-up experience. This generation learned faster because the pace of innovation grew by the time.
now back to the book:
He gives us useful insights from his experiences that may teach you lessons on how to manage start ups and how to evaluate results different from standard business.
I found interesting his basic ideas about
– testing assumptions about customers behavior using minimal viable products (I call this market readiness check)
– product/market fit and growth engines that work in specific customer groups
– and how he tied it together giving good advice
This book helps to understand that the management of start-ups requires to think differently. From management perspective and from investor’s point of view.
This book is piece of mind of an entrepreneur who wants to share his experience and insights, it is not a textbook on Management. But it might serve the same purpose with lots of success.
May be this kind of books teaches us better to learn from experience and stories told instead of reading text books, where we find engineered management techniques which result finally in “theatre KPIs” how Rice calls it.
His ultimate sentence to which I agree fully is where he talks about the attitude that the “lean start up” approach teaches:
“We would respond to failure and setbacks with honesty and learning, not with recrimination and blame.”
Ein Must Read für Innovation Professionals. Über den manchmal ermüdenden Stil der Wiederholungen muss man wie bei den meisten US-amerikanischen Sachbüchern hinwegsehen.
Das Buch hat mir sehr gut gefallen! Es gibt sehr viele Insights in den Aufbau eines erfolgreichen Start-ups. Manchmal ist es etwas sehr technisch, was einige Passagen schwer zu lesen macht, vor allem in Englisch. Im Großen und Ganzen jedoch einfach toll!
5,0 von 5 Sternen
An important read for new startup ventures
Rezension aus dem Vereinigten Königreich vom 18. Dezember 2017
The Lean Startup is one of the core business books that revolutionised the business startup environment. Eric Ries stripped everything down to the core basic principles of being lean, and agile in response to customer feedback. This is not new but is collated and distilled in a very dynamic, yet clear structured manner. It must also be said that the Lean Startup is heavily biased towards the software industry and while also coming from that industry I may be unaware of how effective this approach is in other sectors, especially those that are heavily regulated and limited to the opportunity to, in reality, deliver prototypes to customers.
I really appreciated the book’s celebration that you don’t have all the answers and you shouldn’t if you’re a startup with an innovative solution. The major point, however, is that you shouldn’t pretend or act like you do but embrace the uncertainty and develop an experimental approach to delivering a Minimum Viable Product – build, measure, learn.
I found The Lean Startup not only great for advice, techniques and the analogous stories to help reinforce the approach, but it is an inspirational book that dares you to challenge everything and rationalise with customer validation that your vision is viable and scalable. When a book affects me it starts a chain reaction in my thought process so that I either gain a better understanding of where I need to go or may enable me to articulate what has been sitting just out of reach in my mind. This is one of those books.
Other books that reinforce this new startup environment and are worth reading include:
• Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder
• Four Steps to the Epiphany – Steve Blank
• The Startup Owner’s Manual – Steve Blank
• Running Lean – Ash Maurya
5,0 von 5 Sternen
An essential essential book for start-up entrepreneurs
Rezension aus dem Vereinigten Königreich vom 12. Juni 2020
I read this book years ago but never got around to reviewing it. I’ve recently read it two more times in the last year. It is that good. I see it as an essential book for start-up entrepreneurs because it is packed with important truths.
Most important is the idea that you must prove your product or service innovation out in the market quickly.
There is so much uncertainty involved with developing an original product idea that traditional management techniques evolved in established businesses are inadequate in start-ups.
Instead, develop a minimum viable product (MVP) to test key elements of your business idea and get it out to potential customers. See what their response rates are compared with your expectations. Keep learning and innovating until you have a product that is proven and a marketing method that works effectively.
While I’ve spent more than 30 years studying marketing, I’m an accountant by training. I found the section on innovation accounting and cohort analysis to be an eye-opener.
This is an outstanding book. While its origins lie in software application development, the concepts have been proven in a vast range of different industries. In some ways, it echoes ideas in Michael Masterson excellent book “Ready, Fire, Aim” that also emphases the vital importance of early validation of a business idea in the market.
This is very highly recommended.
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps business owners who are stuck, get unstuck.
4,0 von 5 Sternen
Interesting read, challenging to apply
Rezension aus dem Vereinigten Königreich vom 21. März 2020
Im only half way through this so far and dont want to preempt anything which us why ive given this 4 stars
Im looking to eventually start my own business, and this was recommended to me by a friend who is a CEO of a big company as something that really helped him
Whilst it is slow to get started, its good because it used lots of contextual stories etc
Overall sso far a really interesting read but definitely a challenge to follow in its footsteps
I reckon it’ll be 5 stars but seen as ive not yet got through it all yet which is why ive given it 4 at the moment
5,0 von 5 Sternen
Essential Reading About Necessary Business Evolution At All Scales
Rezension aus dem Vereinigten Königreich vom 17. September 2021
By telling the stories of businesses that have both succeeded and failed the author builds up a framework of better practice that we can all follow or even evolve and develop should we wish to turn our original ideas into a sustainable business. This means businesses that DO NOT fail after a short time. This means human time, talent and effort NOT wasted. This means precious resources NOT wasted. The methodology can and maybe should be applied in non profit making organizations, particularly health care and education. This is not a revolution but the appliance of good common sense using a scientific method. What is revolutionary about that ? Or do we carry on being inefficient wasteful and allowing talent to remain undiscovered ? The choice is ours and it does not have to cost the earth !
5,0 von 5 Sternen
Believe the hype – first book I’ve ever re-read
Rezension aus dem Vereinigten Königreich vom 29. Dezember 2015
I have read countless management, business and self-development books and I can honestly say this is the first one that I have truly used like a workbook. What I mean by this is that I have gone back to various chapters to refresh the key learnings and then apply them to my own situation. Surely this is the true test of a book in this category. It’s not written like a workbook, but to me, that’s exactly what this is.
It is slightly biased towards tech companies, partculalrly the product refinement and testing, but there are some nice non-tech case studies that he works through methodically to demonstrate how the lean principles can be applied to any type of startup.