I attended a talk by Natalie Hollier back in September on Lean Product Management for Enterprises: The Art of Known Unknowns, when I saw a slide from her presentation that blew my mind.
It wasn’t that the slide had beautiful visuals or fancy transition effects, but what it had was a simplicity on how it communicated on a high level the differences between the 3 most common product development processes: Waterfall, Agile and Lean.
This image/slide was so great, I had to ask Natalie for it, and luckily she sent it to me asap!
*wipes tears* Isn’t it beautiful?
One of the main differences between the three processes, and arguably the most profound and distinguishing difference, is when the product gets into the marketplace when creating a new product. With both Waterfall and Agile, the customer/stakeholder/end user gets the product at the end of the project – so essentially you have to build the whole product using these two processes.
However, with Lean you are mostly focusing on building a small subset of features (hopefully the most critical features) and getting that MVP (or mini-product) to your customers and the market a lot sooner. The quicker delivery helps Lean eliminate more potential waste than Agile as you’ll be able to get a quicker reading if your building the right product. If you aren’t, then you can abandon ship sooner thus saving two precious resources: time and money.
Another insight I got from this slide was that the Lean product development process is a very very very scaled down Waterfall project IF you look at it on a phase level and not at a deliverable level as shown below:
In Lean, you usually release an MVP at the end of the cycle but you have to go through a number of steps first, similar to Waterfall. Now of course there are other differences in these three product development processes, but we’ll leave that discussion for another time.
UPDATES: Changed the first image to reflect Market feedback instead of customer feedback (you should always be able to get customer feedback), and edited article to reflect getting product into the marketplace (12/2).