Make it better, not bigger

Feb 27th, 2017 by Lieuwe van Brug

When you create a new product or service and you follow The Lean Startup, you focus on solving a real customer pain. You start by validating you assumptions that are made in your idea. And if you listen to feedback carefully, you probably change your product or service a lot in the beginning. The focus is the make the best solution for that one problem you're trying to solve!

That is a very good focus. The MVP is a good starting point to start learning. You skip all the features that are not part of the core of the solution to solve the customer problem. So, the MVP is probably not a very feature rich application. It does one thing (sort of) and it does it in the best way possible.

And if you're lucky and have validated and listened, you're change on success is big. Soon you need to grow and the business really comes to life. In this phase of your startup, all the focus is on automating all manual labour and make sure that the application can handle the growth. You're officialy a ScaleUp!

Scale up

Time goes by and you are becoming a normal business. The product or service is a success and slowly you expand the product or service. At this point a lot of companies lose focus. A nice example I think is Jira from Atlassian. A lot of agile minded people know this product very well. In the beginning it was exactly what we needed. A simple issue management system to run our agile projects with. Now, many years later, it has grown with a lot of features. So the product is not that simple anymore. The end result of this is that Atlassian has had to buy Trello. A simple product doing one thing very good, issue management. It does what Jira did earlier. Don't get me wrong, I also still use Jira a lot in daily work and still love the product. But the truth is, it does a lot more than I need or want it to do.

What can we learn from this? Well, don't be tempted to expand the product with a lot of new features. But keep focussing on the main problem you were starting with. Make that solution better and better. Not adding one feature to another. Keep on learning and keep on listening to feedback. Even after your Startup and Scaleup period, when you became a 'normal' company. It is even easier then, because you assemble a lot of information. You have your CRM data, sales data, support data, social media, etc. You can use all that data as automated feedback to make your solution beter and better. Start using that data by using Lerni.

If you also have an opinion on this subject, please comment or contact me. I would like to get in touch to have a chat.

Lieuwe van Brug

Lieuwe van Brug


Agile architect, coach, scrum master and developer with a lot of years of experience in different combination roles. Passionate in making ideas a reality. Good ideas and a good open environment with the right people make the impossible, possible. Creativity, the right technology and an open team spirit are perfect to get it done in this time of innovation.