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Is the Lean Startup Method Dead in 2021?

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Is the Lean Startup method dead in 2021?

The Lean Startup method, developed and popularized by Eric Ries, has proved to be an outstanding tool for launching small and medium-sized businesses. However, it is not possible to calculate at least the approximate number of successful businesses launched using the Lean Startup methodology. Although there are several well-known examples of how companies used this method in practice, such as Dropbox or Zappos, it is worth saying that these cases had been carried out before Ries published his best-selling book.

Nevertheless, the Lean Startup method has become widely known. And we can admit that this is, perhaps, one of the best ways to launch a startup since at the core of this method is MVP development.

However, today you can easily find discussions on whether the method is outdated. After all, the entire digital industry is now pushed forward by significant technological progress. Some believe that solutions based on machine learning, AR and VR, may be of more help. But the fact is that it requires serious investments, which a small business simply cannot afford. So here’s the question: Can the widespread adoption of high technologies kill the Lean Startup method or even the small digital business at all? Let’s discuss it in our article.

Source of Pessimist Beliefs

The Lean Startup method did not appear out of thin air in 2011. Eric Ries did not invent it but only described it in detail, making a methodology out of scattered knowledge. The method itself was used before, we already mentioned Zappos and Dropbox. So why would a time-tested concept suddenly die in 2021?

The whole point is the initially incorrect interpretation of the method itself. Often, if you talk to a person who is convinced of the method’s death, you will be able to hear a number of beliefs. For a better understanding, let’s list the most basic of them:

  • Lean startup suggests working only with a small amount of money and on small projects. Everything related to larger investments and extensive workflows can no longer be called a lean startup.
  • The method is suitable only for the digital industry. Offline products require more investment and longer production time.
  • Lean startup is the cheapest and fastest development method. It is suitable for applications and websites, but it does not apply anywhere else.
  • This method is all about an experiment, the only benefit of which is a smaller amount of wasted money. It does not carry any value since a rare MVP can become really useful for customers.
  • Lean startup means your business will fail quickly. If it has lasted a week, this is not a lean startup.

Familiar arguments, right? Although some of these beliefs may prove true, it’s worth knowing that this is not the value that the Lean Startup method should bring. The real essence of the method lies deeper and is not visible at first sight.

The real essence of the method

Of course, there are benefits that the method can bring along with the current technological progress. If you look closely, you will understand the real value of the method.

  • More courage to entrepreneurs. The most revolutionary ideas are born in the minds of madmen. And it is very unfortunate when these ideas are not implemented. TLS allows them to come to life. Novice entrepreneurs are ready to take this relatively lower risk and not get drown in the search for investors for large-scale development.
  • True and trustworthy experience. We all make mistakes, and further, learn from them. The method allows you to get invaluable experience from making mistakes and rectifying them, this is its essence. This experience can be calculated, evaluated, and, after making a couple of changes, applied again. And you don’t have to wait for years to get the result, mistakes will be seen immediately. Sounds familiar? Yes, this is the basis of the scientific method. Can anyone say that the scientific method is dead in 2021?
  • The right approach to doing business. Although it seems to many that a lean startup is an attempt to fool the user, that’s not true at all. It’s just that people can’t grasp the concept: Why should users be offered to purchase not a finished, full-fledged product, but a kind of demo? However, the TLS method is a set of rules by which any honest business must exist. This honesty lies in the fact that MVP development includes a stage of deep market research. As a result, users will most likely be offered exactly what they need. And even if it doesn’t work out on the first try, subsequent iterations will sooner or later lead to satisfaction of both parties. No one in the business world listens to users so carefully and takes their opinions into account, as the MVP developers.
  • Did You Know: DBAs or “Fictitious Names” are not required to start a business using a legal or registered name in Florida. This guide by IncorporationRocket takes a closer look at how to file a DBA in 50 American states.

In the end — it works everywhere

Many people forget that the Lean Startup method, in fact, was inspired by the lean production of offline giants such as Toyota and Zara. Add here a deep scientific approach and users at the center of all processes, and you will get a universal concept that works everywhere, not only in the small-scale digital business segment.

So what would be the answer to the main question raised in the title of this article? Is the method dead in 2021? No, it’s not. The basic principles by which successful business exists in 2021 are the same principles by which the method works. Whether skeptic entrepreneurs like it or not, they simply have to use a similar approach. Indeed, the introduction of high technology, machine learning, neural networks, and total automation will certainly affect all areas of our lives. But the lean method is not about specific cases, it’s about how we are all used to doing business.

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