Lean Product Development: Definition & Principles
Are you tired of developing products that fail to resonate with your target audience or drain your resources without delivering the desired ROI? If so, it may be time to take a closer look at lean product development. This methodology, which emerged from the Lean Manufacturing movement, is designed to help businesses streamline their product development process, reduce waste, and create products that deliver maximum customer value.
We’ll define what lean product development is and how it differs from traditional product development methods. We’ll examine this approach’s core principles, such as minimizing waste, maximizing value, and continuous improvement.
From startups to Fortune companies, businesses across various industries use lean product development to drive innovation, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
With ever-increasing pressure to deliver more with less, companies that embrace lean product development are better positioned to stay ahead of the curve, outpace their competitors, and impress their customers.
What is Lean Product Development?
Lean product development is a process of developing products and services that meet customer needs with the least amount of waste possible. The concept is based on lean manufacturing principles, which focus on eliminating waste in every aspect of business operations.
Lean product development is a structured approach to product development involving the following steps:
- Getting Feedback Early and Paying Attention
Getting feedback early and listening to it is one of the most important parts of a lean product development methodology. Feedback from users, customers, and stakeholders will help you make decisions about your product or service. The earlier you can ascertain feedback from these people, the better able you’ll be to make changes before going too far down the wrong path.
Feedback is vital in that it can help you understand what motivates each type of user/customer/stakeholder who will interact with your product or service. How do they want information presented? What questions do they want answered? How much time do they spend researching before buying something new (or old)? By understanding these things early in development, you can tailor your design accordingly so that everyone involved has an enjoyable experience using whatever they buy from you!
- Prioritizing Features Carefully
The next step in lean product development is to prioritize features carefully. You need to know what to build and when to ensure your team is working on the right things at the right time.
There are many ways of doing this, but one of the simplest is user story mapping or another feature prioritization tool. These tools help break down user needs into smaller chunks that can be developed separately from each other. Further simplifying each large scale project into smaller parts based on complexity level and estimated effort will help streamline processes, reduce downtime, and minimize waste even before development begins.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Change Direction
One of the most important things to remember when developing a product is that you don’t have to be married to your initial idea. You may think that you know what your customers want, but it’s more likely than not that once they get their hands on it and try it out, they’ll have their own interpretations and perceptions. This is not a bad thing. While it’s great to have a strong direction, pivoting is also welcome. Maintain your point of view but also know when it’s time to make a shift.
- Conduct Some Small Experiments Regularly
The idea here is to test ideas and assumptions quickly so they don’t get wasted on large scale projects that may not pan out. This allows you to move forward confidently in your decisions and makes it easier for you as a team leader or manager to communicate those decisions with customers and stakeholders who are waiting for them (and maybe losing patience). While conducting these experiments, make sure that everyone on your team knows what experiments are being done and how useful they will be in helping them reach their goals.
Interested in learning more about how lean product development can transform your manufacturing efforts? East West Basics is here to help. Contact us today to learn more!