The Differences: Lean Startup vs Agile Methodology

NOTE: This article was written in 2012. Check out our latest blog and white paper on this topic: What You Really Need to Know about Lean VS Agile

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Can Lean Startup and Agile Methodology work together?

In today’s dynamic business world, we transform our project planning focus from an expanding control change process to an adaptive process that embraces change: a process that responds to business requests whenever they are made, a process that is flexible enough to change even the process itself.

That process entails practicing Lean Startup with the Agile Methodology, in addition to the traditional project management focus on controlling activities. Lean startup principles measure ongoing results but then challenge those requirements as needed, as part of a build-measure-learn loop. A true picture of success or failure starts to emerge–and a true picture of failure may induce even the most intractable project sponsors to make significant changes before things go off the rails.
lean startup

The Agile methodology is an approach to project management, typically used in software development. It helps teams respond to the unpredictability of building software through incremental, iterative sprints. Below is a diagram showing the various components of the agile method.

Agile Process

Requirement Analysis– This is equivalent to researching and brainstorming what the product requires. Examples can include general features, architecture discussions, workflow discussions and general product discovery.

Design Document & Prototype-This is the SOW (Statement of work), which will have all the requirements defined for the product.

Iterations, Demo & Feedback– During the development, iterations are needed to test the code as well as get feedback from the customer on progress. Feedback from the customer can include: mockups, front-end designs, and usability.

Identify defects & Resolve Bugs– Bugs and defects are always a constant in the software development process. It is important that there are good Quality Assurance standards to eliminate general issues.

Production & Technical Support– The software application is finally deployed and live. Once this occurs, a support plan needs to be in place for maintenance and general support on potential future issues.

Differences Between Lean and Agile

In the traditional uses of Lean and Agile, the main difference is the following:

NOTE: This article was written in 2012. Check out our latest blog and white paper on this topic: What You Really Need to Know about Lean VS Agile

Lean is used to help build and define a marketable product. Agile is the means to achieve this in software development. Below is a chart depicting the high level differences from a terminology perspective BUT they equate to the same meaning in a different context.

Lean vs Agile Chart

Both methodologies require a Project Manager to work closely with the development team and customer; driving the pace of the project. As a result, the Project Manager plays an integral role in the success of the overall project.

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Check out our latest blog and white paper on this topic: What You Really Need to Know about Lean VS Agile