Lean Development Methodologies

Small businesses have a limited supply of time and resources. That’s why practicing lean development can help eliminate waste and ultimately deliver only what the customer needs. 

How do business leaders and technology professionals practice lean development in their businesses?

Here are eight ways to practice lean development:

  • Eliminate Bottlenecks
  • Run Departmental Experiments
  • Interview Customers
  • Let Employees Wear Multiple Hats
  • Trust Your Team
  • Apply It to All Stages and Processes
  • Offer Certifications and Courses to Your Employees
  • Make Small Risks and Assess Results


Eliminate Bottlenecks 

After reading, The Lean Startup by Eric Reis, he defines lean as a methodology that provides businesses with the ability to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. To practice lean development in our SEO business, we are constantly looking for ways to eliminate bottlenecks. Time is a valuable resource, and when there are processes that are taking up too much time, it is wasteful. To eliminate this waste, we are constantly auditing our Asana processes and communicating ways to better accomplish a task. 
-Kayla Centeno, Markitors

Run Departmental Experiments

Besides the lean development approach that we use in our everyday activities as a software development company, we use the same principles in other internal company processes. Lean development methodology that works in combination with agile processes helps us implement new ideas fast and in a cost-effective way. For example, in the marketing team, we have one-week sprints with planning and retrospectives, run experiments, and create some kinds of MVPs to check ideas before spending more resources on them. The lean approach allows us to simplify processes and focus on customer value, which results in strong relationships with clients while also reducing marketing overload.
-Yulia Garanok, datarockets

Interview Customers

Lean development is synonymous with having a minimum viable product. I’ve found that in order to develop a minimum viable product, product leaders and business owners need to “get out of the building” and go interview customers. During Covid-19, scheduling a quick 15-minute Zoom call with customers and screen sharing around different feature sets helped our team validate assumptions in an efficient and effective way.
-Brett Farmiloe, Terkel 

Let Employees Wear Multiple Hats

For my organization, we run lean by having the employees wear multiple hats and facilitate multiple roles. This allows our organization to run in an agile manner but also be quite lean. With our work culture being set up like this, our employees get to learn many different positions and become immersed in our organization. They ultimately become quite vested and essential to our organization. This is how our team practices lean development.
-Mark Smith, UAT

Trust Your Team

When it comes to a retail site, lean operations can be very important. However, this means ensuring that we hire the right people for the job. When operating at an optimal minimum, it’s imperative to be able to completely trust your team and their capabilities to pick up the slack when necessary. Plus, this will create a culture that focuses on teamwork, and what company doesn’t see that as a win?
-Sally Rong, Rellery

Apply It to All Stages and Processes

As a spreadsheet consultancy, we apply Lean Six Sigma to all the stages of the process. During the technical evaluation, we define which files and data feeds are required to remove as much waste as possible. Then, we limit the number of steps in the process to minimize the time when analysts wait for someone else’s input. When gathering requirements, we conduct workshops to hear the customer’s voice and evaluate their time consumption. That helps to choose the right automation degree.
-Michael Sena, Senacea

Offer Certifications and Courses to Your Employees

We use a number of lean principles in our day-to-day business. All of the employees in my organization became Six Sigma White Belt certified this year, and employees are pursuing higher levels of certification. There are many cross-departmental and cross-functional teams that use techniques such as Gemba walks, plan-do-check-act, 5 whys for problem-solving, and others. We challenge ourselves to think in terms of continuous improvement and offer suggestions for improvement that are value-added. I love using lean principles because I think it makes for greater efficiency and more creative solutions for those we serve.
-Colleen McManus, Senior HR Executive and Consultant

Make Small Risks and Assess Results

One way that we practice lean development is by making small bets or risks on any new development we undertake in our business. Once we see the data and know there is some level of success, we then scale the successful model and pivot quickly away from any failed models or assumptions.
-Julian Wright, Shotzu

About the Author(s)

 Brett  Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of Terkel, a Q&A site that converts insights from small business owners into high-quality articles for brands. Brett Farmiloe Founder & CEO,

Founder & CEO,
Biracial woman receives instruction from coworker on work project on computer