I enjoyed watching this video interview of Eric Ries talking about “lean startup methodology.” It sounds a lot like agile development to me.

“a failure of an idea doesn’t mean the failure of the company”

I’m honored to receive am IMVU scholarship to Friday’s Startup Lessons Learned Conference. I am excited to spend time with a group of entrepreneurs who are pursuing (or at least interested in) this methodology. I have been hearing bit and pieces of this, but only recently did I realize how aligned it is with my own practice.

I am experienced in agile development methodologies and have been working to apply similar lessons to business development for both my consulting company, Blazing Cloud, which pays the rent, and my startup company, Mightyverse, which aspires to change the world by enabling cross-cultural and cross-language communication.

“The simplest thing that could possibly work” is a mantra of agile software development. Applied to my consulting business, I have deferred many of the trappings of a business until it was painful not to have them. For a small consulting business, it is easier: my metric of success has been whether I net a profit on each job. Applied to Mightyverse, it’s more complex since we’re investing in product development for longer-term revenue growth (along with non-monetary goals). Deciding to release the website and the iPhone app before we had something that we considered a minimally viable product was a tough decision, but we made it because we recognized that we needed more than software to have a viable product. With the website and mobile app out in the world, we can start building a community of contributors before we have a complete solution for either direct participation or consumption.

The key element of agile or “lean” methodology is to understand why you are doing what you do. When you understand your motivations and how you expect your actions to lead to your desired outcome, it can lead to unexpected and counter-intuitive decisions that are nonetheless effective.

What do you think?