The Lean Startup movement has had my interest since Eric Ries launched “The Lean Startup’. Not only because it seems like a great way to build new products, but also because it provided some of the ‘missing pieces’ to the Scrum framework. Before Lean Startup, I understood how the Product Owner works with the Development team to build products incrementally, but where do all those ideas for great product come from? Are all product owners brilliant, Steve Job-like figures that just know what to build? Lean Startup and its focus on hypothesis validation and product discovery answered that question for me.
Although I personally see Lean Startup as a part of the larger Agile family (just look at the Agile Manifesto with Eric Ries’ book in mind), it has grown into its own movement with thoughtleaders as Eric Ries, Ash Maurya, and Steve Blank. It also has its own set of conferences and I was lucky enough to attend the Lean Startup Summit Europe last week.
As most Lean Startup conferences, the program (which was two days, I only attended the second one) was mostly filled with case studies, next to talks on applying Lean Startup thinking in large corporate organisations (which is also the focus of Ries’ last book). Interestingly enough, some of the most spectacular examples of Lean Startup being applied were outside of the software domain. The session that impressed me the most was actually about applying Lean Startup on a hotel: Hans Meyer’s talk on the 4-5 years his team spent on testing customer preferences and responses for his hotel Zoku.
As some of the people behind LiveOnDemand (a kickstarter-like site for speakers and events) were also organising this conference, there was some serious event organisation experience on board. Combining this with an impressive list of sponsors lead to the most impressively organised conference I have ever seen: a constant flow of communication before the event, a survival guide, an awesome location, breakfast/lunch/dinner and afterparty, free parking (a rarity in Amsterdam), freebies including Eric Ries latest book and a bunch of professional video and audio teams producing each session.
Looking back at it, the entrepreneurial spirit, inspiring talks and perfect organisation made it into a great conference. I can’t wait for next year…
EDIT: Pictures and slides are now also online.