Over the last few weeks I have launched a prototyping project, its high profile, technically difficult, experimental and needs to be done quickly.
Normally in a big corporate you would spend a year on this, an academic might study it for 2-3 years, I hope to condense it to a few months and produce a working prototype.
I have listened to Lean Startup a few times now over the last year (well most of it) and started looking for tools to facilitate building a lean startup (within a multinational split over 4-5 timezones).
Funnily enough when I launched my first business nearly 14 years ago I didn’t spend much time planning, I just made a best guestimate of what we should do, the 3-5 big goals that would change my world, listed the tasks needed to achieve each goal and executed hard, measured the results and adjusted as I went, I would review the priorities every day and set new weekly goals based on a quarterly plan (but no more than that).
Everything was an experiment unless proven otherwise (I got this experimental approach from Seth Godin’s book “Survival is not enough” long before Lean Startup was a movement) and I ran lots of experiments, more than 25 different ways to get the message out (and more than 150,000 mail drops to Sydney Businesses with about 20 messaging variations)
Here is the list of tools that I have come across and tried/used so far in my process.
Please add any you think we should have to the comments and I will put them into the list.
http://leanstack.com/ has a multiuser Lean Canvas – Works well when you are working with an international team, simple but easy way to get the critical data to make a product and a decision down on one page.
http://leanstartupmachine.com/validationboard/ A Google Docs Validation Board template
Similar but more manual and works on Google Docs
123D Design – Free 3D drawing software, there is a desktop version (which crashed a lot for me) and a web version (which is not as capable as the desktop version). Despite these problems I still recommend it as it is very capable software and amazing given its free.
Tinkercad.com Very good if you are aiming to build models for 3D printing but I found it lacking for more complex object contruction (or it could be my lack of skill) Also free
Autodesk Inventor – This is what you will probably use if you need more than 123D. Easy enough to use, but you really need 8Gb ram and Win 64, it too will crash on 4gb. Extremely capable. Not free but a demo is available.
Google Docs – Because enterprise collaboration tools will arrive in your company 2 years after you need them.
LeanProduction.com Excellent explanation of the 25 lean tools for manufacturing
Strikingly.com for building a great landing page, ever wondered who builds those beautiful one page sites that explain everything you need to know about a product or service and nothing else? Strikingly.com does.
http://pollenizer.com/tools Check out Phil and Micks collection of tools, these guys are experts in the space.
https://trello.com to create a shared workboard so that you can collaborate rather than email everything – Freemium
http://www.targetprocess.com Agile Project Management Software – Freemium
https://www.circuitlab.com/ This is a great App for desiging circuit schematics and then running them in a simulator – Freemium
https://www.fluidui.com/editor/live/ Available in your Chrome Browser for designing App mockups – Freemium
What did we miss? Add your preferred Lean Tool in the Comments.