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Author: Alp Camci, PMP

Event Report: Successful Implementation of Lean Startup Thinking In Projects, Reinach 5th December 2018

On Wednesday, 5 December, we met in the Endress+Hasuer Headquarters in Reinach to get insight about “Successful Implementation of Lean Startup Thinking in Projects” from Dr. Michael Sauter. PMI Switzerland especially thanks Jürgen Ekert for organizing the event and Endress+Hauser for their sponsorship.

Having worked in various organizations as a consultant, manager and managing director, Michael is an expert in the agile environment. With his company, Brainbirds Gmbh, Michael trains organizations for methods to drive changes in their company and to be fit for the fast changing digital world.

Michael classified the organizations starting from “we do not need digital transformation” to “GAFA: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon” who are leading and creating this new age of digital transformation. He said there is a big number of companies lying in between these two extremes, who want to understand why GAFA is so successful and how they could transform their organizations to stay fit and competitive in the digital world. Here lies a danger in his point of view, if the leading pack is too far away, the companies in the middle group may think they are leading.

After this short introduction, we split into 10 groups with approximately 7 members each for the workshop. The exercise is to “develop a start-up idea”.

Visualization is the key to creativity, and it helps create consensus in decision-making. With this in mind, we used the following tools for the workshop: Post-its, pens and a timer.

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The workshop started with the definition of a new business idea. While the timer was running very quickly, each participant put on the board one idea they would like to implement. After a quick voting for the best idea within the group, we defined which users could benefit from this idea. After the user definition, the next step was listing the problems users are facing. We developed solutions to those problems by answering the question of “How might we…” and then we switched to the “Lean Canvas”.

Lean Canvas or Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models. Here we visualized the problem, the solution, the key metrics, the channels to be used and, last but not least, the cost structure and revenue streams.

After all of this, Michael continued his presentation explaining what we had just experienced with this small exercise. This exercise was a perfect example of a tool what customer-centric companies should implement in their structures. With design thinking, companies can identify the user, the problem and the solution. In this stage they define the desirability of their product. The next step is to check the value proposition in the business model generation stage with tools like the business model canvas. Once the model is defined the companies can check the feasibility of the idea with lean startup’s learn-build- measure cycles. Only the ideas that pass to the implementation phase may be further developed with scrum/agile methods. Continuous iteration of these cycles keeps companies customer-centric and successful in the world of fast pace change.

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In the world of fast pace change, Michael said project managers are perfect change agents who can lead change on a daily basis in their profession. After a brief Q&A, we continued our event with an apero, which enabled us to meet old friends and make new ones.

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