Innovation is a key driver of success for businesses in today’s fast-paced, competitive landscape. However, traditional product management approaches can be slow and resource-intensive, making it difficult for companies to quickly bring new ideas to market.

One solution to this problem is to adopt a lean approach to product management. This approach, popularized by the Lean Startup movement, emphasizes fast experimentation and iteration to quickly validate and improve upon ideas.

Here is a high-level overview of how a lean approach can be applied to the product management lifecycle, with examples from well-known products developed in the past 5 years:

1. Identify a problem or opportunity: The first step in the lean product management process is to identify a problem or opportunity that needs to be addressed. For example, TikTok identified a need for a more engaging and interactive video sharing platform.

2.Define the solution: Once the problem or opportunity has been identified, the next step is to define the solution. This should be a clear, concise statement of what the product will do and how it will solve the identified problem or take advantage of the identified opportunity. For TikTok, the solution was to create a platform that allowed users to easily create and share short videos set to music, with features such as filters and effects.

3.Build a minimum viable product (MVP): The MVP is a stripped-down version of the final product that includes only the most essential features. The goal of the MVP is to validate the solution as quickly and cheaply as possible. This can be done through prototypes, user testing, or even just a simple explanation of the product. TikTok’s MVP was a simple video sharing platform with a small set of basic editing tools.

4.Test and learn: With the MVP in hand, it’s time to test and learn. This means gathering feedback from users, analyzing data, and making iterative improvements to the product. The goal is to quickly identify what works and what doesn’t, and to pivot as needed. TikTok continuously gathered data on user behavior and used it to add new features and improve the user experience, such as the “For You” recommendation algorithm and the “Duet” feature that allows users to create videos alongside existing ones.

5.Scale and optimize: Once the MVP has been validated and the product is ready for wider release, it’s time to scale and optimize. This involves adding additional features, refining the product’s design and user experience, and establishing a robust marketing and sales plan. TikTok has continued to expand its feature set and improve the user experience, and has also used targeted advertising and partnerships with influencers to promote its brand.

By adopting a lean approach to product management, companies can quickly validate and improve upon their ideas, bringing innovative products to market faster and with less risk. This approach has been successfully used by industry leaders such as Google, which used a lean approach to quickly test and iterate on new features for their search engine, and Facebook, which used a lean approach to rapidly scale their messaging app, WhatsApp. In fact, WhatsApp was able to achieve over 2 billion active users in just 7 years by using a lean approach. Twitter has also used a lean approach to quickly test and iterate on new features for their microblogging platform, which now has over 330 million daily active users.

What lean developed approaches did you see in the features we got in the last 5 years?