Lean* is on a roll. I read lean analytics on a plane last week and was able to get through about half of it and I liked it. I’ve recommended it to product owners on my team so that they can get a quick summary of the best practices for analytics. They have laid out the book as an “Analytics for Dummies” book.
I think the first half of the book is useful to get grounded but here are the things I did not like:
- Focuses only on web analytics
- Does not really discuss measuring feature use even for a web app
Here are the things I liked
What to measure
You can track many metrics, its important to collect as few metrics as you can and only the ones that you can control. For example – many product managers are not in charge of pricing or marketing or the GTM. So… should you measure customer acquisition metrics?
Picking the right metric is more important than almost anything else.
Trust your gut
Eventually product mangers and entrepreneurs get paid for their judgement and not just for doing what people are telling them to do today. This is the only skill to hone and then measure results and course correct.
Read a really inspiring article today on lean writing and self publishing in the New York Times on Hugh Howes.
I see that the CrankyPM is also using a similar methodology to write her book and has already raised 50% above her modest goal. Seems like lean is the way to go.
Lean is the new buzzword in product management. I’ve been hearing about this consistently since the launch of three great books that inspire you to quit your job and build something of value. I list these books later in the post.
The Lean approach to startups and product development, learning launches are not new. Enough books have been written about this since at least 2008 and even before then, we had been trying to write software incrementally. They have become a bit of a fad and have developed a cult following.
While lean methods are great for $100 startups and small ideas, I agree with multiple product managers that its not “it”. Here are arguments on both sides of this method:
This said, its clear that as a PM you now have to demonstrate you have lean skills for product development and validation. I think this is a good skill to develop if you aspire to be the best in your field. If you play the “lean” beer bingo during a GM all hands today, you will be drunk in no time.
Here are the books I referred to at the beginning of this post.
- The Lean Startup
- $100 Startup
- 4 hour work week
These are great reads and provide a great primer on how to go about building your business. I have to warn you that its much easier to read the book than to build a business. And,