Lean Startup Vancouver

Can a lean startup mentality work for all stages of business?

lean_startup_vancouver-150x150 Can a lean startup mentality work for all stages of business?

Lean Startup Vancouver

This was the question at the latest Lean Startup Vancouver event and some top-notch speakers from industry leading companies shared their opinions. Spoiler alert: Yes, we can all benefit from the lean startup mentality.

Jesse Heaslip started the night off with an introduction to the lean movement and gave an overview of Eric Ries’ Lean Startup phenomenon. He explained how he took an idea and with little programming experience created a proof-of-concept that could be demo’d to potential users. This simple example illustrates the lean startup mentality: fail fast. Get your idea to end users as fast as possible to see if it has traction.

Allen Pike from Steam Clock Software later took the stage to explain how his JavaScript user group (VanJS) quickly gained popularity. As a full-time entrepreneur, he had to be efficient with his time and applied lean concepts to get the most results from the least input.

One of the heavyweights of the night came from SAP. Lawell King, Senior Director of Engineering at SAP in Vancouver, explained how SAP is shifting to the agile methodology. He told the audience of 160 people how even a huge incumbent like SAP can transform into a more iterative, fast paced work environment. He explained how it’s much more rewarding and exciting to be involved in a rapidly improving organization.

The second key speaker was Stuart Ashman, currently the QA Director at Joyent but previously handling QA at Sophos. In his 6-years at Sophos he helped the company shift to an agile software testing methodology. He explained how automated testing and flipping the testing triangle (so more testing is done by automation and less bugs are left for users to discover) they were able to reduce the frequency of deployments from once-per-quarter to several times per day.

Lastly, Melissa Ness, Senior Interaction Designer and Usability Specialist at Vision Critical, described how even UX can be lean by getting mock-ups in the hands of end-users early on and feedback sessions can be done remotely. This focus on failing fast and getting feedback from key stakeholders early results in much less wasted time on misguided efforts.

Watch the video below to see some pre-presentation interviews with the speakers.

Lean Startup Vancouver: Speakers – March 8th, 2012 from Jin Lee on Vimeo.

Thanks to Jin and Jesse for putting on a great event.

At Optimus we’ve learned and adopted the lean methodology in all that we do. From software development, to testing, to business intelligence we believe that getting an early mock-up or proof of concept into our clients hands is invaluable. Our projects are always broken down into 1-2 week sprints with deliverables and customer feedback.


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