The Marketing Centre Book Club - Jason Russell



The Marketing Bookclub, November 2017 – By Jason Russell


The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries


Why have you chosen ‘The Lean Startup’?

The great thing about The Lean Startup is that you don’t need a business background to understand the concepts inside – nor do you have to be an entrepreneur or senior manager to benefit from it.

I was recommended the book by a colleague of mine a few years ago, when I was looking at how projects were managed, implemented and presented in my own business. but it’s one I’ve been going back to ever since.

The Lean Startup essentially sets out a fresh way of project planning for startups – the agile framework. This means failing fast, moving projects forward iteratively and improving as you go.

It’s a foundational text for many Silicon Valley businesses, being especially useful (and originally intended for) software teams. But the lessons and approach have universal appeal, because lean ways of working are relevant in any business which uses digital technology and does its marketing online. Which is basically everyone.

You might have heard of ‘scrum’ methodologies, or ‘minimum viable product’ or the concept of businesses ‘pivoting’. These terms were either coined or popularised by Ries and The Lean Startup.

What will business owners gain from the book?

Lean methodologies emphasise using as few resources as possible to accomplish maximum results. The book therefore offers insights into launching Minimum Viable Products without fear, and sets out why testing and encouraging customer feedback is crucial to understanding and constantly improving a product or business.

This is most useful when considering marketing initiatives: Launching the campaign, fostering feedback and iterating repeatedly generates results more quickly than waiting for the campaign to be perfect.

My business and the businesses I work for have since adopted many of these project management principles. For example, when pitching projects to prospects, we break down every part of the project into bitesize steps, including information on how long each step will take. Applying MoSCoW Prioritisation the customer can then add or take away tasks based on their budget and requirements.

Lean methods have gone a long way in helping me ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget, and with the full collaboration and buy-in from the customer.

If it does nothing else, Ries’ book should inspire employees and entrepreneurs to do more with less.

If readers enjoyed this book, which others would you recommend?

There are plenty of books on agile methodology, but one of the most compelling is Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz from Google Ventures.

This takes the five-day agile process they developed at Google and shows how it works in practice, at its most efficient. Plenty of actionable advice for businesses of all sizes.