Progress in manufacturing is measured by the production of high quality goods. The unit of progress for Lean Startups is validated learning-a rigorous method for demonstrating progress when one is embedded in the soil of extreme uncertainty. Once entrepreneurs embrace validated learning, the development process can shrink substantially. When you focus on figuring the right thing to build-the thing customers want and will pay for-you need not spend months waiting for a product beta launch to change the company's direction. Instead, entrepreneurs can adapt their plans incrementally, inch by inch, minute by minute.
This approach carries less risk than a traditional Waterfall approa ch but is still far more risky and less efficient than a more Agile approaches . The focus is on delivering a sprint of work as opposed to a series of valuable/shippable features. The most commonly occurring issue in this type of scenario (in my experience) is bottle necking . For example, you deliver loads of code a little bit behind schedule (?) and you leave it until the last minute to test everything. One issue takes longer than expected to resolve, you miss your sprint deadline and you deliver nothing . Another common symptom of this type of approach is over-commitment . It’s really difficult to estimate the total effort associated with a particular User Story/Feature when approaching delivery in this phased way. You’re more or less forced to estimate each phase separately (. estimate development separately to testing in this instance) – this doesn’t work as the phases are not separate, they’re totally intertwined . For example, if you find an issue with the test, you must return to development. The whole team must remain focused on delivering the end goal , not the separate phases. It’s also worth noting that velocity and burn downs are far less (if at all) useful in this type of environment – you don’t benefit from early-warning-signs as you don’t find out whether you’re on track until the end of the sprint.