Most books on management and operation agree on the best way to manage product and processes: it’s called “continuous improvement” and based on a cyclic (a circle) diagram. I totally disagree with this approach for startups. I will share my reasons and books and articles to read instead.
A continuous improvement diagram involves at least the following five steps.
- Define the goals of this interaction
- Create a plan to do it (and get a budget based on assumptions)
- Do it (and discover how much of the planning was wrong.)
- Check the results (prayer and some executive marketing can help here)
- Go back to step 1
Note: You might have more steps on your favourite book, don’t be fooled, it’s only to differentiate that book against the other 2 million stating roughly the same thing.
It doesn’t work for startups
While this is great if you need to improve progressively, this is
rarely never the way to go for a startup. Incremental progress is too slow, both from a product point of view and for your internal processes.
A series of disruptive increment is what you need: 100%-1000% increments. The results provided by continuous increments ( 5-10%) are valuable only for well-defined products or established processes, nothing a startup has.
Don’t create a better product, create a revolutionary product
Create a product that solves my problem 100 times faster, and customers might change from their current product to yours. Anything less will not be worth the time and effort of the switch.
Plan to change how you do business as fast as your growth (very fast I hope)
Focus on improving a lot in one go, this is how you plan your growth, this is how you should think about your processes too.
Books and articles recommendations
Startup founders recommended books
- Turn The Ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules – A new way of leading, from L. David Marquet, the US nuclear submarine Captain that changed leadership in the Navy
- The Innovator’s Dilemma (Management of Innovation and Change) – where disruption was first defined. A must-read for any startup founder wanting to survive in the medium/long term
- The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – by Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize)
- 8 Subconscious Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day—And How To Avoid Them – The “swimmer’s body illusion,” and other ways our brains play tricks on us.
How to think outside of the box
- The 2 minutes brainstorming
- Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity by Edward de Bono
- Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers – the authors changed the game on how to think and present business models and by extension business plans
For the first time, I’m using my drawings. Let me know if they are understandable.