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Agile Versus Lean Startups


At Allied Legal we have noticed the ascent of the ‘agile’ or ‘lean’ startup. The ‘lean’ startup in particular, has been a hot topic of conversation even before the launch of Eric Rie’s founding principles of The Lean StartupPrior to the American entrepreneur, precursors like Steve Blank and Taiichi Ohno have vouched for the utility of streamlined startup processes. But what exactly is an ‘agile’ or ‘lean’ startup?

Agile Startups 

Agile is a method that was originally adopted in the information technology sector (IT). It allowed software developers to trial new components of their product, particularly those which comprised complex structures. Now, startups are using the approach by prototyping their offering in order to test the most risky proportions of their offering. The method typically requires a small team of startup founders or experts, and a consumer base to provide feedback which assists in the identification and correction of errors. Startups employing the ‘agile’ system must be – as the name suggests – agile, responding rapidly to change and adhering to strict deadlines through ‘iterative processes’. 

Lean Startups 

‘Lean’ startups are based off ‘lean’ manufacturing processes, popularised by the text The Machine That Changed the World. Startups who adopt this approach, or ‘lean startups’, employ experimentation and validated learning to test whether their business model is viable. Again, this process is reliant on consumer feedback and flexibility rather than the adherence of strict frameworks and long development cycles. Lean startups seek to reduce market risks by creating products or services around the needs of early clients. If applied successfully, startups can use ‘lean’ techniques to eliminate wasteful practices, the need for outside funding and extensive business plans. 

Agile or Lean?  

Both methods can be beneficial in their own right. Employing ‘agile’ techniques can be ideal for complicated projects that involve more of a ‘trial and error’ approach. On the other hand, the ‘lean’ approach can be beneficial for startups “looking for a business model that drives genuine value.” However, in any event, research is key, especially for early-stage startups. According to Harvard Business Review startups should engage in experimentation similar to the processes of ‘lean’ or ‘agile’ methodology. Whether you follow the framework exactly is up to you. 

Need Help?  Contact Us 

At Allied Legal we deal with all kinds of startups from ‘lean’ to ‘agile’. Whether you are in need of legal advice or you are wanting to scale your startup for success, we are the team to contact. If you want to learn more about how we can help, give us a call on 03 8638 0888 or send us an email at hello@alliedlegal.com.au. 

You might also like our article Cleantech Startups Reshaping How We Do Things

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