How to Support Lean Startups

Lean Startup
Startup Development
Agile Project Management
Product-Market Fit
Customer Development Strategy
by Evelyne de Jong
July 31, 2022
krakenimages-376KN ISplE-unsplash
krakenimages-376KN ISplE-unsplash

As we work mostly for Startups we always align our work with the process they face in search of product-market fit. Lean Startup and Customer Development are common practices used by our clients. Our understanding of these practices makes Squads stand out against traditional digital agencies and software developers. We understand the process and rhythm of Customer Development and Lean Startup. This is crucial in order to build digital products that are at the core of all of our clients' needs. I will briefly outline how that works.

Running lean

As all startups face high uncertainty, you want to start reducing this uncertainty from the start. In a previous post, we described this as de-risking your Startup. In fact, it’s all about rapid and intense learning cycles. You determine assumptions and risks and quickly start iterating on them to learn how you can handle them. In our projects, we work with clients in determining the right mix of building the product and growth hacking to start testing the viability of a Startup idea. This involves:

  1. Having the right skills on board

    in most cases, this means a mixture of design, development, and growth hacking. We have specialist teams in all of these areas to make sure you can execute quickly. They work together closely with the founding team to test critical assumptions and build early traction.

  2. Short iterations

    in order to maximize learning you need to work in an iterative way. At Squads, we work in weekly cycles. This not only limits the risk (you never lose more than one week of budget) but also maximizes learning.

  3. Constant communication

    although we work remotely we are in constant communication. We use Slack, Trello, Github, Skype, and Google tools to be on top of things. Communication about progress is instant. For experimentation, we also use growth hacking tools that provide insights into customer behavior.

From Discovery to Scaling

We also support the Customer Development process. For Startups in the first Customer Discovery phase, it is important to start investigating the problem-solution fit. You want to spend time here to dig deeper into the problems your customers face in your solution area. Once you have a clear view of the problems and the value proposition you can tailor for it, you start Customer Validation as the next step.  At this point, you start building a validation website or Minimum Viable Product. For this, you need excellent designers, developers, and growth hackers but you are not at a point where you can afford an in-house team. You need speed and flexibility. Building your own team is simply too risky in the first two phases of customer development. That is why we have high-velocity teams ready to help you out in this process. In weekly iterations, we help you prove that your Startup idea is worth pursuing. When you have found the product-market fit, then you start scaling your Startup. You have your first customers and some cash flow. Good for you! You can now focus on building the company. At this point, we make sure that the technical capabilities are transferred to your company. We do this through CTO recruitment and paired programming with your first technical team members. A brilliant example is the Dutch energy Startup Vandebron. At Squads, we helped them form a Technical Viability Scan via the development of their platform to the recruitment of their CTO. Providing the required agility and speed in the first phases and supporting the scaling and execution later on when validation is done. That is the way we like to contribute to success in startup and innovation. Any questions on how we can help you run lean and get you to the scaling stage? Have a chat with one of our experts