The Early Stage Software Startup Development Model: A Framework for Operationalizing Lean Principles in Software Startups
Book chapter, 2013
Software startups are more popular than ever and growing in numbers. They operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty and face many challenges. Often, agile development practices and lean principles are suggested as ways to increase the odds of succeeding as a startup, as they both advocate close customer collaboration and short feedback cycles focusing on delivering direct customer value. However, based on an interview study we see that despite guidance and support in terms of well-known and documented development methods, practitioners find it difficult to implement and apply these in practice. To explore this further, and to propose operational support for software startup companies, this study aims at investigating (1) what are the typical challenges when finding a product idea worth scaling, and (2) what solution would serve to address these challenges. To this end, we propose the ‘Early Stage Software Startup Development Model’ (ESSSDM). The model extends already existing lean principles, but offers novel support for practitioners for investigating multiple product ideas in parallel, for determining when to move forward with a product idea, and for deciding when to abandon a product idea. The model was evaluated in a software startup project, as well as with industry professionals within the software startup domain.