Isn’t Lean a New Years Resolution? Or is there something more within the context of Product Management?
We derived the Lean API Product Development method from the innovative Lean Startup methodology, which became increasingly popular. The Lean Startup methodology is a revolutionary method that’s transforming how companies build new and innovative products or services. Its core principle is the so-called “build-measure-learn” cycle. It is a scientifically proven approach for creating new products or services under conditions of uncertainty.
What is the Lean Startup methodology?
The Lean Startup methodology is an iterative process of how to build products, refine or even pivot them depending on the market demand. It consists of three activities: build, measure, and learn — and three artifacts: ideas, code, data. The following figure presents the build-measure-learn cycle.
Everything starts with an idea. We implement the idea, which results in a piece of program code or an app. We then make the app productive and accessible to users. Afterward, we measure the relevant data from the users and how they use the app. Based on the acquired data, we learn and gather new insights. These insights lead to new ideas on how to improve the product. And the cycle of build-measure-learn starts again.
The Lean Startup Methodology is suitable for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) because of the very nature of the APIs: fast to develop and measurable. However, APIs are technical, contractual interfaces. Let’s imagine that you develop an API quickly, and a consumer is using it in an app. You change it frequently breaking interface contracts. As a consequence, the consumer has to adapt his app to the new API continually. This adaption leads to the consumer spending massive amounts of effort to maintain the current functionality of his/her app, which in turn, results in awful consumer experience.