The benefits of failing fast

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, CEO of a small Consulting firm, he explained me how he energized his small company using Lean Startup principles and tools.

Especially when it comes to answer calls for tender or a request for a proposal, Frederic (his name) has gotten pickier.

My test, he said, is to ask when I can come and present my proposal. If the person asks to receive it by e-mail or tries to escape the presentation, chances are there is no genuine interest. I can save myself precious time for something doomed from the beginning. I won’t inflict pain to myself starting to answer. Fail fast, save time.”

Being still somewhat old school, educated in a system and at a time when failing was not fashionable, I realized that “failing fast” is not only about physical widgets or apps not working (even if called Minimum Viable Products) or services nobody care about except their creators, but also about the more mundane and lukewarm requests from prospects.

I recalled how many proposals I wrote myself, for which I got stupid excuses to turn them down, if any answer ever came. I could have failed fast and saved myself a lot of time!

Indeed, some prospects are asking for proposals to gather some intelligence on a subject, fuel their own creativity, get a free guideline to roll out the proposed program by themselves or just to please the purchasing department with more than their favorite proposal because the procedure requires at least three.

In a time of harsh competition it’s sometimes hard to discard an opportunity for business, but here one has to remember that every inquiry and call for tender is not a true opportunity.

And failing fast has real benefits, it saves time!

Bandeau_CH160601
View Christian HOHMANN's profile on LinkedIn

Discarded the bloody app, feel better now

It was the one which inspired me my post: “Minimum Viable Product or just crap?”, it kept upsetting me over and over while claiming to be the top app for social media management.

I got rid of it and feel much better now.

Not only can I get beyond the limitations, but I have a much more reliable app now.

Yet for one problem settled this way, how many others are still bothering out there?

How many times did you experience a change in software or a mobile app (probably called “iteration” to make it sound trendy), allegedly improving user experience and driving you crazy instead?

It seems to be the new normal in IT development to issue half-baked unstable and bugged new versions, expecting customers to “give feedback”.

I gave my definitive unspoken feedback: I quitted! My time is too precious to “help” f___g developers finish their messy job.

By the way, got my answer: it was no Minimum Viable Product but just crap.


PS: Yes I know, in the first days of the year we should be kind and express good resolutions, but it feels just soooooooooooo good to slam this virtual door on this piece of…

Bandeau_CH40_smlView Christian HOHMANN's profile on LinkedIn

6 questions to frame your brilliant development idea

I was fortunate to interview Eli Schragenheim, well-known expert of Theory of Constraints, during his visit in our offices in Paris, October 2015. This interview is about the 6 questions to challenge, question, test or frame any new development of technology, product or service.

These 6 questions are:

  1. What value does it bring?
  2. What current limitation does it eliminate or reduce?
  3. What do people do now, without your development?
  4. What should users do in order to draw full value of your development?
  5. What features must be included?
  6. How do you integrate?

The 6 questions originated with the book “Necessary but not sufficient”, co-authored by Eli Goldratt, Eli Schragenheim and Carol Ptak, published in 2000. The 6 questions are still really actual as startups are hype.

During this interview, I made a link with the Lean Startup movement, the Minimum Viable Product concept.


Eli Schragenheim posted a series of articles based on these s 6 questions on his own blog.


Read more about how Theory of Constraints can help Startups


Bandeau_CH36View Christian HOHMANN's profile on LinkedIn

Minimum Viable Product or just crap?

Having started my career in the heyday of Total Quality Management (it brings us back to the early 1980s!) and being educated to worship customer satisfaction in the Lean way, I am not very at ease with the Minimum Viable Product concept.

A minimum viable product has just those core features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want, that seeks to maximize the information learned about the customer per dollar spent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_viable_product

Even so I fully understand and partly support the strategy, I am experiencing cases that keep fueling my distrust.

>Lisez cet article en français

The one that got me angry and triggered writing this post is about an app designed to manage social media.

I have several accounts within this app and to my surprise, the app has different behaviors and proposed features, depending the account I log in with.

This inconsistency is quite a surprise and does not suggest very good standards nor consistency in development strategy.

Over time, I experienced several bugs and even gave detailed feedback to help the developers’ team to improve. But it seems that every time they fix one, a new one appears. The latest denied me programming posts at desired time, which is the very basic function this app is made for!

I am using the free version and this is supposed to be the showcase for the premium offer. I’ll never go premium and I will quit using this app.

What I supposed to be ongoing improvement on a minimum viable product is just steadily proposing new crap. Hence my reservations about the concept, which is likely to be used to camouflage poor capabilities to deliver.

Any thoughts?


Bandeau_CH40_sml View Christian HOHMANN's profile on LinkedIn