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lean thinking

Ah, MVPs, or Minimum Viable Products. I haven’t seen many projects without them in the last few years. Yet still, I haven’t seen project success rates going up significantly either, despite what MVPs promise: building the smallest thing that will bring success. What are we doing wrong? What can we improve?

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A personal definition of innovation that I regularly use is this:

Innovation is doing new things in a context of uncertainty.

By this definition, the process of innovation follows an uncertain path. You cannot know up front whether or not you will be successful.

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Many organisations are experimenting with applying agile techniques. However, without a good understanding of the agile mindset, this often does not lead to the expected results. At the latest BBC Conference, I talked to Kathy Berkidge, who frequently speaks on agile and how it enables good collaboration. She also discusses the relation of agile and mindfulness, which is maybe a bit unexpected but can be a big enabler!

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Lean and agile have become a thing in most organisations. They have a significant impact on how projects are run. As a consequence, they heavily influence what people expect from business analysis.

But what exactly is lean business analysis? Can and should analysis work be performed in an agile way?

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When I recently cut a slice of brown bread for breakfast, I discovered a white blob in the middle. Strange. Yet I ate it, and you know what? I did not die. Seriously, I didn’t even get sick.

We really need to be ok with having more white blobs when innovating.

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May 31, 2018

The truth is out there

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in a lot of organisations is getting started with early customer validation. But it’s not so much an organisational issue, it’s mostly a personal issue. Do you have what it takes to get out and talk to potential customers?

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During trainings and workshops, I often tell about the Zappos example to explain the concepts of hypotheses and cheap validation. How many pairs of shoes did Zappos have in stock when they first launched their web site? Zero.

One time, after the Zappos example, I got an interesting question, showing how hard it is to grasp the essence of hypothesis discovery and validation.

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Agile and lean thinking are starting to produce good results, not only in the world of start-ups, but also in IT environments in established organisations. But more value can be created, and more waste eliminated, by bringing lean principles to the business and to the business analysis profession. There are lots of great resources available online. In this post, I gathered some material that inspired me.

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