Introduction to Lean Startup

Lean Startup is a methodology which is a much faster, better and iterative approach for building and launching products into the market which is known to be far more effective compared to the traditional waterfall model of product development.

It has been observed that 75% to 90% of the startups which have adopted the conventional model has failed to attain success in their projects.

The primary focus of lean startup is on iterative learning loop which comprises of doing market research, profiling of customers to create the original version of the solution through their feedback and making iterative improvements.

Let’s delve a bit further to understand more about Lean startup, its history and the various stages involved in this process.

What exactly is Lean startup Methodology?

Lean startup methodology helps in compressing the product development cycles while developing products and services using a combination of business hypothesis-based experimentation, iterative releases of a product along with validated learning.

The basic premises of startup methodology is that if startup companies spend a considerable amount of time in the iterative building of products and services, they can cut down a significant amount of market risk and also meet the initial needs of their customers. This also helps them to reduce the need for large amounts of funding required for their projects which might otherwise result in failures and prove to be expensive.

History and origin of Lean Startup methodology

In 2008, Eric Ries proposed the lean startup methodology based on his personal experiences of applying lean management principles to the tech startup companies.

As a result, this methodology has been used by individual teams or companies who want to launch new products and services into the market. Ries published a book on lean startup methodology in Septemeber 2011 which turned out to be a huge success and sold nearly 90,000 copies by June 2012, which is also one of the reasons behind the broad scale by the adoption of lean startup methodology by companies.

Eric Ries started his first company, Catalyst Recruiting which resulted into a complete failure, owing to lack of knowledge about the needs of their customers and spending more time and efforts on an initial product launch. Later Ries joined a startup company, There Inc in 2013 which was a typical Silicon Valley startup but failed to garner popularity for its product, owing to lack of vision in understanding the needs of their customers.

The origin of the concept of lean startup methodology is actually based on the principles of lean manufacturing, which was conceptualized by Taiichi Ohno using the flow principles applied by Henry Ford in 1906. After that, the TWI program was introduced in Japan in 1951. After experimenting for 15 years, Ohno was able to create a more stable and reproducible system, and the term “lean” thus became popular in the 1990 book - The Machine That Changed The World.

Fundamental Principles of Lean Start-Up Methodology

There are five main principles of Lean startup methodology as described by Eric Ries through his book, which is based on the scientific approach for creating and managing startups described as follows:

Entrepreneurs can be found everywhere

An entrepreneur can be based anywhere, but they need to think big and start small but scale up pretty fast.

Entrepreneur requires management abilities

An entrepreneur needs to be accountable to himself and possess superior management skills to be successful.

They must be aware of the process themselves to implement the method and get the desired results. It becomes easier to prevent mistakes they are able to assess the value and find out what to do next.

Based on Validated Learning

Startups need to understand how to build a sustainable business. Every component needs to be validated scientifically by conducting experiments that demonstrate and test their vision.

With proper validation, entrepreneurs can recognize and address some of the key risks involved in their products and make suitable adjustments to position their brand.


The core of the Startup model is based on the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop, which means startups have to primarily focus on transforming their ideas into products or services, measure their metrics to get feedback from their audience and assess whether they need to make any changes or continue with the existing process.

Thus each process within the loop requires to enhance the feedback.

Innovation Accounting

Entrepreneurs need to be accountable for their actions and outcomes via the prioritization of work, measuring their progress while delineating their milestones.

All these elements when combined together may be used to define entrepreneurship.