Running Lean: Building Our Lean Canvas

The following post is part of a series of posts related to my new project, currently code named CB Reader. For the latest info, please consider joining the CB Reader mailing list.

It’s no secret I enjoyed book The Lean Startup (Review). Afterwords, I followed it up by reading Running Lean, by Ash Maurya, which is a collection of actionable examples for how to implement the Lean Startup for your next project. I’m doing my best to follow along with Ash’s recommendations and will report my progress here on on the blog.

One core concept Ash pushes is getting out there and interviewing your customers, not after the 1.0, but even before you begin coding. There are a few phases to customer interaction before you have a shipping product and with the Lean Startup principal of measurement they are all designed around learning.

However, before we interview customers we need to figure out what we want to learn and to do that we’ll create our first version of the lean canvas, an extremely simple 1-sheet that describes your product and business model. You are encouraged to spend some time on this but not too much time as realistically you’ll be coming back with edits and changes soon enough.

For my own project, I ended up using Ash’s Lean Canvas web app and it worked great. I did one version early on and then a second version as I prepped my problem interview questions. I wasn’t able to fill out all the squares as detailed as I wanted but as Ash explains in the book that’s fine for now. This canvas can and usually does change drastically as you learn from your customers.

The most important info, for this next phase, the Problem Interviews, is defining your falsifiable hypothesizes. These are the problems your believe effect people, the existing alternatives they are currently using to solve them are the most important, and the customer segment these people fall into.

Next: The Problem Interviews