Always choose the option that minimizes the total time through the feedback loop. – Eric Ries
As the pro-learning attitude of Lean Startup takes hold, startups face a challenge not only in learning, but in figuring out how to learn quickly, actionably and repeatably.
I’ve found that Kanban is very useful here. Kanban is a simple Lean tool for pulling more value out of a process.
When you try to improve speed through the learning loop, it’s these Lean principles that come into play.
Learning delivers value by giving you advance insight in the form of actionable course-corrections. When your learning is complete and well-structured, you know your next step. Half-done learning is not properly actionable, since it can’t allow to make a concrete adjustment to your business. Learning by validating or invaliding specific hypotheses allows your conclusions to influence what you build next and what you learn next. Because learning one thing leads to the next, learning fewer things at once allows you to progress faster.
Kanban can help give you this structure so you pull actionable learning from your learning activity. Take a look at the Kanban board for Leancamp Learning.
On a Kanban board, work progresses step-by-step from left to right. When we come up with a hypothesis or something to test, we put it in the To Do column. When we’re ready to to create a new test, we “pull” it from the To Do column into the Creating column, and start creating the test. (The test might be a split test, cohort test or mock advert. Or, if it’s qualitative learning we’re after, it’ll be creating a Topic Map and documenting Problem/Solution Hypotheses for interviews.)
Once the test is created, we start collecting data, and once enough data is collected, we mark it as ready-to-pull with a checkmark. Then, when the team can get together, we analyse the data, draw our conclusions and decide what to act on and what we want to learn next. The things we want to learn next go into the To Do column on the left.
Things we want to act on go into whatever project management system is already in place. So, Kanban for learning can be used in concert with other management approaches – including agile, PRINCE2 or waterfall development. (This is a great way to get people personally acquainted with the benefits of Lean and Kanban without disrupting or challenging them, by the way.)
Better yet, if you’re already doing some kind of learning activity, start by mapping and tracking what you already do, so the Kanban board can expose where you’re building up work-in-progress now. This’ll allow you to improve quickly without massive disruption.
Originally posted on Leancamp
Ramping up for my Gitcoin Kernel Fellowship, working on new blockchain primitives for workgroup coordination.
Writing DAOistry which summarizes ideas from blockchain visionaries into practical chunks.
For fun, made Nonfungo - completely on-chain NFT sale notification bot for Discord. (Look ma! No Opensea API!)
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