Ash Maurya. Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

The book Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works was published in 2012 . Its author, Ash Maurya established several startups, he conducts workshops devoted to the Running Lean method, and he was a mentor in business incubators. He reports the acquired experience on the blog that he writes.

The guide includes a description of methodology of creation of new companies, which is to be better and quicker than previously applied solutions. It is devoted to novice entrepreneurs, who think about setting up a company, which is able to achieve a commercial success. The Running Lean method has been based on own knowledge of the author related to product development, as well as on concepts of such persons as, among others Eric Ries, Steve Blank, Dave McClure, Sean Ellis, Sean Murphy, Jason Cohen, Alex Osterwalder.

The publication is divided into four sections, which should be read in an established sequence so you can correctly apply the presented method. The first sections refers to the whole process of Running Lean. To cut it short, there are three meta-principles characterized there, expressing the essence of this model, which are described in details on further pages. Case study is approached in a relatively interesting manner. The author performed it on an example of a book that he wrote.

The second section describes the manner of documenting the final vision in a form of a single-page Lean Template. It poses an adaptation of scheme from Business Model Generation guide book by Alex Osterwalder. A plan described in this manner is less stiff than a business plan and allows to save a lot of time, which would be devoted to write it.

In the subsequent section, the writer can read about his plan’s aspects, which he should concentrate the most on, and which are connected with the highest risk. It will allow to systematically limit the plan, which is important in case of startups that relate to significant risk by default. It is worth knowing that it is conditioned by a stage that the startup is currently on.

The last, fourth section is connected with resting the initial plan, so it has the highest chances to achieve success. It consists in performance of experiments, which are to help abolish or confirm a hypothesis that poses an element of a business model. At the same time, this is the most sizeable part of the book.

The author applies a comprehensible language, and the text that he wrote is read quickly and fluently. It has been achieved thanks to the fact that he uses a first person view, short paragraphs, divisions inside the text, and that the book was created in cooperation with readers. The guide book is not “overloaded” with the collected material, which at the same time is present in a sufficient amount. It facilitates going through the whole publication without the feeling of tiredness or boredom.

Visually, Running Lean presents itself invitingly, both from the outside and on the inside. It has a clear structure, and all schemes have been presented with highest care.

While reading the book, you may have a wrong first impression that somebody, who introduces himself as a blogger will not approach the topic seriously enough. Fortunately, this is not a real impression, and it disappears in the further part of the guide book. A person possessing methodological knowledge might dispute a part of the discussed notions, but you need to accept that this is not a scientific publication but a guide book. Nevertheless, these doubts does not shadow the major task of the book, which is to allow persons, who would like to start acting on their own account but their concept is still quite blurred, to write their first business model.

As Ash Maurya claims himself, the book has been devoted to managers, managing director, developers and programmers, who would like to become entrepreneurs, to bloggers, co-establishers or owners of small companies, all creative persons, who are interested in starting a new business enterprise, as well as for innovator and creators of startups.

Application of the Running Lean method seems relatively simple, and it certainly is less time-consuming that composition of a business plan. A significant advantage of such a solution is the fact that there is a possibility to quickly test a lot of opportunities, even those that are competitive towards each other, and choose the one that turns out to be most beneficial, i.e. providing the highest chances for business success.

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