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Agile is a broad and diverse subject to learn with many new terms to understand. To aid with this I have added a new Agile Glossary page to this site. I have kept the content high-level and brief, and linked to other sites where required. I am also using a very wide remit and encompassing Lean, Lean Startup and some business and conceptual tools.

The Agile glossary link is in the main menu, please let me know if there are other terms you think should be added.

Thank you, ScrumRonin

llsu-1I posted last week on why we should all be using Lean Startup to drive innovation and create profitable new ventures within existing companies.

I was asked where to go to learn more about implementing Lean Startup and this is the subject I aim to address in this post.

So the easy answer is do it or get involved in a project already using it. Alternatively we need to learn the method and also learn from the mistakes of others so we do not repeat them ourselves.


Each person has a different learning style and recognising yours helps you to learn faster. Of course it is never this simple, your learning is a combination of the following seven styles:

  • Visual – You prefer seeing pictures and videos.
  • Aural – You prefer hearing sound and music.
  • Verbal – You prefer words, in writing and speech.
  • Physical – You prefer using your hands and touch.
  • Logical – You prefer understanding systems and reasoning.
  • Social – You prefer learning with other people.
  • Solitary – You prefer to learn alone.

To reflect these styles, I have covered several different methods for learning Lean Startup so you can pick and choose the ones that suit you.


Learning Styles: Visual, Verbal, Logical, Social (if in a book group) and Solitary.The four Lean Startup books that I recommend starting with are –

llsu-4 The Lean Startup (Eric Ries) – This is the first book to read about Lean Startup, what it means and how to create products using it. Eric proposed Lean Startup in 2008 and published this book in 2011. Lean Startup is about learning what your customer wants and testing your vision constantly to deliver innovative products.
llsu-5 The Startup Owner’s Manual (Steve Blank & Bob Dorf) – The startup bible to the customer development methodology for launching new startups. An encyclopaedic how-to guide to searching for a scalable and profitable business model.
llsu-6 Business Model Generation (Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur) – A beautifully presented book introducing the business model canvas that can be used to understand, design and implement your business model. The business model canvas is a modern business tool enabling the creation of better products and companies.
llsu-7 Value Proposition Design (Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Barnarda, Alan Smith & Trish Papadokas) – The sequel to Business Model Generation adding a practical extension to the business mode canvas to design, test, create and manage products. The value proposition canvas focuses explicitly on creating value by designing products and services for your customers.


Online Coursesllsu-8

Learning Styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Logical, Social (forums and peer reviews) and Solitary.

Over the last couple of years a small number of valuable online courses have been made available –

llsu-9 Coursera – There are three specialisations offered, Startup Entrepreneurship, How to Start Your Own Business and Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business. Although not Lean Startup focused they cover new ventures and building an innovative business model
llsu-10 Udacity – Two free courses are offered, How to Build a Startup and Get Your Startup Started. The second course is co-presented by startup expert Steve Blank and is a great introduction to the area.
llsu-11 Udemy – With over a hundred Lean Startup courses including from Eric Ries and Steve Blank. There are a good range of courses from free to paid.
llsu-12 Lean Content – an interesting course from Eric Ries and Ondi Timoner on making money from selling art on your terms. Although it sounds an odd subject, this is all about Lean Startup, unusually though not specifically technology.


In-Person Coursesllsu-13

Learning Styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, and Social.

There are few in-person courses available, Steve Blank holds an annual eight-week Lean Launchpad class at Stanford and Berkeley which combines the business model canvas, customer development and Agile engineering. Outside of universities there are a few consultancy led courses including a two-day Lean Startup – Intrepreneurship course by Board of Innovation.


Learning Styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal and Social.

There are several Lean conferences in the UK each year, these include –

  • Leanconf – Europe’s largest Lean Startup event.
  • Lean Startup Summit – Annual event partnered with the Eric Ries and the Lean Startup company.
  • There are also a couple of Lean Startup Labs available in London and Cambridge.

Meetup Groupsllsu-16

Learning Styles: Visual, Aural, Verbal and Social.

Meetup is a website and application that allows communities of interest to build up with regular physical meetings and presentations. As well as being (nearly always) free for attendees, it is a great way to network and events often have free pizza and beer.

Agile and Lean have always been high-collaboration domains with the following Lean Startup groups active n London –

  • Lean Startup
  • Lean Startup Circle London
  • London Lean Startup Entrepeneurs
  • London Startup Marketing
  • London Internet Startups


Learning Styles: Visual, Verbal, Logical and Solitary.

And lastly the Internet is such a rich source for Lean Startup ranging from articles, e-magazines (Inc.), downloadable books and numerous blogs starting with these two –


With the quality and quantity of advice now on offer it is great time to learn a new way of creating products. In addition, it is great to be able to meet the creators of Lean Startup at Meetups and conferences.

Please let me know if you find new ways of learning more about Lean Startup.

Scrum Ronin

Startup 1 Marc Andreessen in his 2011 Wall Street Journal article noted that ‘software is eating the world’. He was right in that every company is becoming a software company but even more than that, every company is becoming a startup.

A startup is an ‘organisation formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model‘ (Steve Blank & Bob Dorf, The Startup Owner’s Manual). Specifically, startups are temporary organisations seeking a product and market fit via a business model. By embracing an entrepreneurial culture, learning from failure and utilising short learning cycles, startups can quickly converge on a high-growth business model.

Startup 2

Startups have been incredibly successful as they have the freedom to explore, innovate and rapidly deliver value, gain customer feedback and evolve solutions. Validated learning with end customers tests each element of a product vision with a build-measure-learn cycle. This scientific approach allows the company to pivot by changing direction whilst staying firmly grounded in what they have already learnt.

Recently developed business tools such as the business model canvas visualize the value proposition, infrastructure, customer segments and finances to help a company align their activities by showing potential trade-offs.

With low budgets, low risk and high agility, lean startups can rapidly grow market share against slow-moving and outdated large competitors. This is aided by cloud infrastructure, social sharing and crowd sourcing. They can also massively disrupt entire markets, recent examples being Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat and even SpaceX. Nagji and Tuff recommend companies invest at least 10% of their innovation budget within the disruptive space.

The Strengths of a Startup with the Advantages of an Established Company

Internal startups (incubators) are used by large companies such as General Electric, IBM, MetLife, MasterCard, Tyco, Coca-Cola, Cisco, American Express and Microsoft to drive innovation and create profitable new ventures. These companies hold innovation contests, ideation workshops and utilise growth boards to create, develop and deliver new programmes.

Developing original ideas, forming small, dedicated and focused teams that are free from red tape and not afraid to fail is critical to success. A single team can sit and work together with all of the required people to bring the vision from concept to cash. The team collaborate on identifying markets, rapidly developing a minimal viable product and validating it with customers by getting out of the building.

If your company has the infrastructure, skilled people and high-level buy-in to make this a reality then all you need is focus, seed funding and a willingness to move forward and try new things. If you are not out to grow and disrupt your own market then you can expect an unpleasant surprise soon from a student with a brilliant idea, a laptop and a latte.

Startup 3