Product management glosary

Lean Startup

What is Lean Startup?

Lean Startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products that aims to shorten the product development cycle and reduce waste. It was introduced by Eric Ries in his book "The Lean Startup" in 2011.

The Principles of Lean Startup

The Lean Startup methodology is based on several principles:

  • Validated Learning: The goal of a startup is to learn what works and what doesn't as quickly as possible. This is done by testing hypotheses and getting feedback from customers.
  • Build-Measure-Learn: The product development cycle is broken down into three stages: building a minimum viable product (MVP), measuring its performance, and learning from the data to improve the product.
  • Minimum Viable Product: An MVP is the smallest possible product that can be built to test a hypothesis. It allows startups to test their ideas with real customers without investing too much time or money.
  • Pivot: If the data shows that the hypothesis is wrong, the startup should pivot and change direction. This allows the startup to avoid wasting time and resources on a product that doesn't work.

The Benefits of Lean Startup

The Lean Startup methodology has several benefits:

  • Reduced Risk: By testing hypotheses and getting feedback from customers early on, startups can reduce the risk of building a product that nobody wants.
  • Shorter Time to Market: The Lean Startup methodology allows startups to bring products to market faster by focusing on the most important features and iterating quickly.
  • Lower Costs: By building MVPs and testing hypotheses, startups can avoid investing too much time and money on a product that doesn't work.
  • Increased Innovation: The Lean Startup methodology encourages experimentation and innovation, which can lead to breakthrough products and services.

The Challenges of Lean Startup

While the Lean Startup methodology has many benefits, it also has some challenges:

  • Resistance to Change: Some organizations may be resistant to change and may not be willing to adopt the Lean Startup methodology.
  • Uncertainty: The Lean Startup methodology is based on testing hypotheses and getting feedback from customers, which can be uncertain and unpredictable.
  • Resource Constraints: Startups may not have the resources to build multiple MVPs and test multiple hypotheses.


The Lean Startup methodology is a powerful tool for startups and established companies alike. By focusing on validated learning, building MVPs, and iterating quickly, startups can reduce risk, shorten time to market, and increase innovation. While there are challenges to adopting the Lean Startup methodology, the benefits are well worth the effort.