Reduce waste, iterate, finish prototypes

Originating from Japan, lean manufacturing focuses on optimizing production processes and reducing waste. Lean engineering is a set of principles and practices that stem from the broader concept of lean manufacturing. In the world of engineering and manufacturing, waste can take various forms, from unnecessary parts in prototypes to striving for perfection without considering the customer’s actual needs.

The concept of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and proof-of-concept (PoC) prototypes plays a pivotal role in lean engineering. For startups, it is an absolute “must” to launch prototypes as early as possible and not scale prematurely without assessing customer demand. Before seeking funding, find ways to create prototypes and discover if there is a market for them.

Sometimes, lean principles are adopted by startups not as their first choice but due to their limited funding. Even with funding secured, the focus on optimization and avoiding technological debt must remain a priority. Getting funding can breed overconfidence, but investors demand results. Nothing proves better that there really is a market for your product than the paying customers. Focus on creating an excellent product while generating revenues and proving that people are willing to pay for the technology.

Lean engineering principles can be especially beneficial for startups, as they provide a structured approach to product development that emphasizes efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and rapid iteration. Startups often operate with limited resources, making it crucial to make the most of what’s available.