Over the years, our repeat clients have asked us to get more involved in their product development efforts, as opposed to just providing engineering insight and execution. Many times, this has meant we’ve helped our clients with use-case validation. This has given us a chance to see firsthand what drives waste in product development. Interestingly, we see a common issue in large companies as well as startups that can lead to development waste.
What is “Development Waste”? We have been applying lean principles to product design and development since 2008. As in lean manufacturing, “waste” can be characterized as anything that does not provide value to the customer. In the case of product design and development, any feature that is not adding value, solving a problem or is not something the customer is willing to pay for, is a waste. Any constraint put on the design that is not really valuable in the eyes of the customer leads to waste.
Projects in which use-case validation (early and often) is not applied tend to have a high rate of failure. When we embark on new projects, our initial questions often relate to the use case validation and users. This gives us a feeling for whether the use-case has been validated, or if we need to help the client think of ways to approach validation.