The Lean Startup teaches us to focus on learning about what really works for our customers. It advocates using the scientific method for running data driven experiments in very short cycles. But, continuously running end-to-end experiments need the total cooperation of the entire business. Truly cross-functional teams are required which is also one of the goals of Devops. Let’s take a look how the ideas of The Lean Startup and Devops enrich each other to successfully create product development flow.
Data driven experiments
The Lean Startup methodology starts your product development by formulating a clear hypothesis about which business metrics your new feature should change and how. If you want to add a new “subscribe” button to your homepage, you should first formulate your expectation: “We expect a subscription rate of 0.5%”. When your hypothesis is ready, think about how to measure the results. Now is the time, early in the idea phase, where the core strength of Devops really shines: knowing what to measure and how to measure it. And running feature development as a data driven experiment creates immediate feedback for early collaboration.
Devops – The Culture of Collaboration
Devops is mainly about a culture of collaboration between all members of a cross-functional team. Originating from the operations side of the product development flow, Devops tries to optimize the whole chain. And this is exactly what you need when running experiments to learn about your customers as fast as possible. Every form of waste (in the lean sense like hand-offs or delays) slows you down and hampers true, validated learning.
Combined Super Powers
If you’re trying to build innovative products you should use all the help you can get: apply The Lean Startup techniques for making sure that you really build something worthwhile. Let your Devops culture embrace your whole cross-functional team to tighten the feedback loop. Speed up even further by using automation wherever you find yourself having to “rinse & repeat”. And join forces to measure the real business impact of your changes. This is the key to true success – for you and for your customers.