Preview of the New Lean Dialog

by PJ Christie

2012 was the Year of Lean Dialog.

Looking forward, we wanted to take the lessons learned and apply it to a slightly different tool. We still believe that having it be on paper first was a good lesson. And an interesting one for a software company. Think about that, rather than to go and sink developer time and dollars into creating software that was ambitious and useful, we did it with paper and pencil.

Maybe it’s just me but I think that in itself is kind of awesome.

We thought through some of the strengths of Lean Dialog, such as:

People wanted to talk about their idea, we worried they would have a strong sense of secrecy

Without knowing about Lean Customer Development, people still wanted to do it and found value in the exercise

It provided people with real steps forward in the starting or improvement of their business

But we found some weaknesses too!

To successfully experiment and validate risky assumptions, required time and money. Two things startups have little of is time and money.

People’s willingness to pay for proven expertise at a Lean Dialog session was never validated. Out of the 100 people who ran through the process, not one actually paid money for it. Even when we gave the tool away to allow professionals to sell their time on their own to their established customers, none paid.

When we ran it as a class, one person signed up.

But does that make it a failure? Not to me, the creator of Lean Dialog. It represents a chance for us to try something slightly different and see if we can improve it.

The focus has changed slightly to be more directed to Startups and entrepreneurs. Here’s a preview.

Lean Dialogue

Now what I do is open this image in Skitch or Photoshop and type in the spaces. Export to my desktop and email it to my team.

When people run into problems filling in the overlapping Venn diagram, I encourage them to use the perspective, “What happens if I do everything right, but completely fail at identifying a problem, producing a solution, or connecting it to the right market.

Do that! Let me know how it works, or contact me. I’m PJ Christie

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