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The Lean Startup in Action
A Case Study on KISSmetrics


Hiten Shah
Customer Driven Design & The Lean Startup • November 3rd, 2010
Build stuff people want to buy
Failure attracted me to the Lean Startup
Lean Startups are Built to Learn
Lean Startup Heroes




Sean Ellis       Dave McClure      Eric Ries
The Startup Pyramid
      The Race to the Top




               Growth



     Transition to Growth



      Product / Market Fit




    Sean Ellis: Startup-Marketing.com
AARRR
Created by Dave McClure - 500startups.com                                   Designed by




                                            1. ACQUISITION
                                  Customers come from various channels




                                            2. ACTIVATION
                                    Customers use product for first time




                                        YOUR PRODUCT


           3. RETENTION                                                    4. REFERRAL
     Customers come back multiple times                                    Customers refer others




                                             5. REVENUE
                                  Customers make your business money
Minimize TOTAL time through the loop

                                                          IDEAS

Learn Faster                                                                                           Build Faster
                               LEARN                                       BUILD                                Unit Tests
Split Tests
Customer Interviews                                                                                        Usability Tests
Customer Development                                                                               Continuous Integration
Five Whys Root Cause                                                                              Incremental Deployment
Analysis                                                                                             Free & Open-Source
Customer Advisory Board                                                                                      Components
Falsifiable Hypotheses              DATA                                      CODE                      Cloud Computing
Product Owner                                                                                     Cluster Immune System
                                                                                                   Just-in-time Scalability
Accountability
                                                       MEASURE                                                Refactoring
Customer Archetypes                                                     Measure Faster
Cross-functional Teams                                                                                Developer Sandbox

Semi-autonomous Teams     Split Tests                                          Funnel Analysis    Minimum Viable Product

Smoke Tests               Clear Product Owner                                  Cohort Analysis
                          Continuous Deployment                            Net Promoter Score
                          Usability Tests                             Search Engine Marketing
                          Real-time Monitoring                              Real-Time Alerting
                          Customer Liaison                                Predictive Monitoring

                                            Eric Ries: StartupLessonsLearned.com
Build Faster

•    Test Driven Development (TDD / Unit Tests)
•    Continuous Deployment
•    Continuous Integration
•    Just-in-time Scalability (Amazon Web Services)

    “ On average we deploy new code fifty times a day.”
     Timothy Fitz, IMVU
We have purposefully deployed:

•   Poorly designed features
•   Inflexible, short-sighted code
•   Half-done features
•   Known bugs
•   Crappy code with major performance issues
Measure Faster

•    Funnels & Cohort Analysis (KISSmetrics)
•    Feedback (NPS, Surveys, KISSinsights)
•    Usability Testing (UserTesting, Mockups, etc...)
•    Split Tests (A/B Testing) (KISSmetrics + Internal)

    “ It's about changing customer behavior -- for the better.”
     Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
“Measure the Macro” - Eric Ries
Learn Faster

•    Fake it till you make it (Smoke Tests)
•    Five Whys Root Cause Analysis
•    Falsifiable Hypotheses
•    Customer Development (Customer Interviews)

    “ Customer Development will help you – force you – to make
      better decisions based on tested hypotheses, rather than
      untested assumptions.”
     The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development, CustDev.com
Original Hypothesis for KISSinsights



“Our hypothesis is that product manager type people have a
 problem doing fast/effective/frequent customer research.”
Lean Startup Process
No Departments, Just Two Teams




    ?
 Problem Team
     What are the
                       ☼
                       Solution Team
                               Find the
   most important        minimum solution
  problems to solve?    for a given problem.
15 - 45 minute team meetings (M,W,F)
“Your Focus Needs More Focus”
Lean Startup Lessons Learned
Speeding can lead to crashes
“that f*cking green light next to a task for 7 days is really
 depressing.”
 KISSmetrics Engineer




     The team becomes more accountable
The only path to perfection is iteration
Thank You!
hshah@kissmetrics.com

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Hiten Shah, CEO, Kiss Metrics

  • 1. The Lean Startup in Action A Case Study on KISSmetrics Hiten Shah Customer Driven Design & The Lean Startup • November 3rd, 2010
  • 2. Build stuff people want to buy
  • 3. Failure attracted me to the Lean Startup
  • 4. Lean Startups are Built to Learn
  • 5. Lean Startup Heroes Sean Ellis Dave McClure Eric Ries
  • 6. The Startup Pyramid The Race to the Top Growth Transition to Growth Product / Market Fit Sean Ellis: Startup-Marketing.com
  • 7. AARRR Created by Dave McClure - 500startups.com Designed by 1. ACQUISITION Customers come from various channels 2. ACTIVATION Customers use product for first time YOUR PRODUCT 3. RETENTION 4. REFERRAL Customers come back multiple times Customers refer others 5. REVENUE Customers make your business money
  • 8. Minimize TOTAL time through the loop IDEAS Learn Faster Build Faster LEARN BUILD Unit Tests Split Tests Customer Interviews Usability Tests Customer Development Continuous Integration Five Whys Root Cause Incremental Deployment Analysis Free & Open-Source Customer Advisory Board Components Falsifiable Hypotheses DATA CODE Cloud Computing Product Owner Cluster Immune System Just-in-time Scalability Accountability MEASURE Refactoring Customer Archetypes Measure Faster Cross-functional Teams Developer Sandbox Semi-autonomous Teams Split Tests Funnel Analysis Minimum Viable Product Smoke Tests Clear Product Owner Cohort Analysis Continuous Deployment Net Promoter Score Usability Tests Search Engine Marketing Real-time Monitoring Real-Time Alerting Customer Liaison Predictive Monitoring Eric Ries: StartupLessonsLearned.com
  • 9.
  • 10. Build Faster • Test Driven Development (TDD / Unit Tests) • Continuous Deployment • Continuous Integration • Just-in-time Scalability (Amazon Web Services) “ On average we deploy new code fifty times a day.” Timothy Fitz, IMVU
  • 11. We have purposefully deployed: • Poorly designed features • Inflexible, short-sighted code • Half-done features • Known bugs • Crappy code with major performance issues
  • 12. Measure Faster • Funnels & Cohort Analysis (KISSmetrics) • Feedback (NPS, Surveys, KISSinsights) • Usability Testing (UserTesting, Mockups, etc...) • Split Tests (A/B Testing) (KISSmetrics + Internal) “ It's about changing customer behavior -- for the better.” Eric Ries, The Lean Startup
  • 13. “Measure the Macro” - Eric Ries
  • 14. Learn Faster • Fake it till you make it (Smoke Tests) • Five Whys Root Cause Analysis • Falsifiable Hypotheses • Customer Development (Customer Interviews) “ Customer Development will help you – force you – to make better decisions based on tested hypotheses, rather than untested assumptions.” The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development, CustDev.com
  • 15. Original Hypothesis for KISSinsights “Our hypothesis is that product manager type people have a problem doing fast/effective/frequent customer research.”
  • 17. No Departments, Just Two Teams ? Problem Team What are the ☼ Solution Team Find the most important minimum solution problems to solve? for a given problem.
  • 18. 15 - 45 minute team meetings (M,W,F)
  • 19. “Your Focus Needs More Focus”
  • 21. Speeding can lead to crashes
  • 22. “that f*cking green light next to a task for 7 days is really depressing.” KISSmetrics Engineer The team becomes more accountable
  • 23. The only path to perfection is iteration

Editor's Notes

  1. Introduce myself.
  2. I don’t know a single entrepreneur who would disagree with this statement. And many of you know, I know a lot of entrepreneurs...
  3. I’ve failed a lot and I want to fail faster and fail smaller. By now, everyone knows that successful startups are a series of “failures”. You can’t succeed without trying a lot of things that don’t work.
  4. In this picture everyone is out of the building talking to customers or...
  5. Talking to one of these guys... Jokes aside, I am humbled to have these guys involved with KISSmetrics. I won’t talk about them, since you all probably know of them. Personally, I’ve learned a lot from them about startups and entrepreneurship.
  6. Sean Ellis and his 3 stages of a startup Metrics of success are different. Reminds us where we are and our success metrics...
  7. AARRR!!! Dave McClure’s pirate metrics. Helps you frame key areas of your business based on a customer’s lifecycle. Helps determine the tactics you should be thinking about. We use this for idea generation.
  8. And of course, Eric’s lean startup graphic. It’s all about validated learning about customers... So we can build something a LOT of people want to buy.
  9. So now i’ll go into our story at KISSmetrics on how we think of Building, measuring and learning faster....
  10. Have the ability to ship code all day, every day. This leads to faster, more measurable iterations...
  11. This has resulted in sub-par, sub-optimized code. But our customers don’t care, in fact they are delighted by our daily iterations. Customer’s don’t care how awful the code is and you shouldn’t either. Remember, it’s about getting validated learnings...
  12. Here are some key areas and tools we use for measuring our business. Idea is to focus on a few key pieces of data at any given time. Here is one way we do that...
  13. We came up with a model for our business. We then establish our actual baseline which became our macro metrics. Find the riskiest assumptions in your model and macro metrics. And attack them...
  14. Learning is all about testing your assumptions. Put up landing pages, added navigation, whatever it takes... To get validated learnings about customers. Learn about the key risks in your model.
  15. We always try to write down our hypothesis, so we know what we are trying learn. Question: Is this hypothesis in fact true or not?! Take the least amount of effort to find out... Ex. Orig. hypothesis for KISSinsights...
  16. The principles of build, measure, learn help us think about how to get answers. The rules of communication and information exchange are much different in a lean startup. The tactical stuff to build, measure and learn faster is one side of things. Now I’m going to talk about the business processes and what we have learned.
  17. Company is divided into two teams. No sales, marketing, etc... Problem team identifies the most important problems to solve. Solution team finds the minimum solution for each problem. Goal is to go through this cycle continuously.
  18. Monday - Team meeting to describe most important problems and goals for the week. Metrics + Few tasks, Tuesday. Wednesday - Check in on how are we doing, solutions already getting implemented? What have we learned so far? Friday - Postmortem on learning and peek into next week from the Problem Team. Problem team is 1-week ahead.
  19. Tool to increase autonomy and communication, focused on our validated learnings driven process. Weekly goal and metrics based on most important problems. Team visibility across all tasks, keep solution team focused on important problems. Provide tools for problem team to identify next things. 5 tasks person, only 1 is active (green-lighted), not in here then not exist, backlog.
  20. We’ve learned some lessons in our efforts to apply lean startup principles. Here are three key ones.
  21. Optimizing one area in the BML loop causes bottlenecks in others. Once we implemented the infrastructure to build faster, we then increased our ability to discover customer problems. But didn’t have a good process for organizing and finding solutions. Once we had that, we started discovering a lot about our team...
  22. They became more accountable. Team members started “policing” themselves. One of our engineers likes to get himself in a hole and just code for days. Doesn’t come up for air and only 50% of time does he produce fantastic results. Our process helped him catch himself and in fact stop before he went on for a long time.
  23. Quote from our CTO, John. A lot of discipline is required to stay focused on validated learnings. We now focus on iteration based on validated learnings instead of perfection. This was really hard, we are a team of perfectionists!