If you want to execute lean practices at your startup, then Running Lean by Ash Maurya should be top of your reading list. Highly regarded by reviewers across the board, the book claims to help you to Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works. So how does it do that?
The book is broken into four distinct parts. First, you are introduced to a roadmap of how to apply the process, which is made up of three meta-principles: document your plan A, identify the riskiest parts of your plan, and then, systematically test your plan. For software developers familiar with agile processes, this may sound familiar. But don’t let that stop you from learning how to apply these principles.
I claim to understand lean/agile and any other buzzword that claims to get the right product out quickly. But understanding and execution are two entirely different things. Ash does a fantastic job of explaining the intricacies of each of these steps. Even the documenting of your plan A gives some great tips on working out what your business model should be, what to prioritise and how to track progress.
The part that gets most focus in the book is the testing of your plan, where you need to go through the steps of understanding the problem, defining the solution and validating the solution.
As a software developer, this book made me realise the value in a defined iterative process. As someone who’d like to create my own company, this book provides a useful handbook for the early days of a startup.