seven wastes of startups

7 Wastes to Eliminate in Your Startup

Taiichi Ohno is the father of TPS (Toyota Production System) - “a philosophy of complete elimination of all waste”. He categorized seven typical wastes that need to be eliminated in automobile production. Years of continuous improvements gave birth to a system that can work for startups.

High competition forces startups to move quickly when delivering product to the market. TPS focuses not only on customer needs, but also on the way employees perform their duties. This helps eliminate typical production wastes. Take a closer look at your current processes to identify whether you have the following wastes:  

Overproduction

This waste is all about the products customers won’t purchase. What is the coolest thing about your product? What are the chances that customers will buy it? Startups aim to create solutions in anticipation of demand, but people feel more comfortable using a new product if it has familiar features.

Trying to meet the needs and expectations of early adopters is a good idea at the initial stage of product development, but this is not your ultimate target. Including all their wishes and requirements can overload the product, thus making it too complicated for the early majority - which is your final target.  

Waiting

Timing can make or break a startup. While you’re waiting for the right moment to go live or working on an additional set of features, your competitors can dominate the targeted niche by releasing a product with fewer features, but enough to attract the majority and laggards.  

As soon as the market sees a cool new product, competitors strive to create something similar. Take the selfie filters in Instagram Stories. These were initially a Snapchat feature. The sooner you start, the sooner you can test the idea on the targeted niche and adjust your product accordingly.

Transportation

This concept encompasses the way you move the product to market. Transportation involves a wide range of activities starting from the way you share information within the team and what technologies/service providers you’re using to the way you deliver the product/service to the end users.

Lack of information and cooperation within the team hamper product release. Luckily, various apps like Slack, GoToMeeting, Trello or Asana help in reducing time spent on communication and collaboration when working with an outsourced team. These products make sure that relevant information is easily accessible for everyone involved. Stay in touch with the team and do not forget to hold daily or weekly meetings to keep them informed on updates.

Over-Processing

Keeping the original product vision in mind is a must when it comes to saving man-hours that are often wasted on the discussion of new features, their implementation and testing. A clear product vision allows you to size up a situation on the market and bypass competitors.

Build an MVP, test it on real users and continue adding features if there is a real demand among the target audience. Simply put, don’t do extra work for “just in case” scenarios.

Defects

Customers rarely give a second chance to products they don’t like after the first try. Everest was designed as “a technology platform that inspired and empowered people to live their dreams and achieve their personal goals.” Three rounds of investments helped the company gather $2.2 mln with Peter Thiel among the investors. But the startup closed after just two years in operation. The founders stated the reason for failure was that the app performance was slow and coupled by bugs.

QA is vital before going live. It ensures a positive user experience which is necessary for acquiring user loyalty. Quality assurance is a continuous process that should start along with the product development. Development and testing minimize the risks of something going wrong while using the product. This gets you one step closer to success.

Unnecessary Motion

It’s always good to get initial feedback about your product. Remember that early adopters represent only 10-15% of the real customers. Don’t blindly follow all their recommendations when they suggest new features that are difficult to introduce from the technical standpoint. Adhere to meet the needs of the majority.

Excessive Inventory

After getting the funding to scale your business model and turbo-charge growth, there is always a need to pack the team with new players. Without proper estimation and planning, additional hiring can result in overstaffing. A smarter way to avoid extra staff expenditures while ensuring you have team members with the right skill set is to hire a dedicated team. Outsourcing product development gives you flexibility to add the necessary talent at the moment you need it, not wasting months searching for the right candidate.

If you’re willing to start eliminating some of the above-mentioned wastes, we are ready to provide a talent pool of experienced engineers ready to help turn your project ideas into project success. Don’t hesitate to contact us!