Posts tagged ‘New product development’

June 11, 2014

Intrapreneurship in Iceland – the story of Tempo

I believe startup thinking or entrepreneurial mindset is not limited to startups and entrepreneurs. I think anyone in any job can put on the hat of an entrepreneur and try to change their job, their career or even their big corporation. It is difficult but the challenges are no different than when one starts a new company or embarks on an entrepreneurial journey. Today we have a guest blog by Jessie VanderVeen, the Marketing Manager of TM Software a company that was born out of the financial crisis in 2008 within a large established IT company in Iceland. I think the story is inspiring and everyone who is part of a large organization can take note and innovate their customer service, product development or how you do your day to day activities. Here is the story of Intrapreneurship in Iceland:

By Jessica VanderVeen, Marketing Manager at Tempo

Tempo’s story is one of resourcefulness, resilience, and a bona fide need for adaptability and change during a time when Iceland’s economic environment demanded these very things. Our existence came to be out of a need to build agile solutions for real problems faced by real users — our own at TM Software.

TEMPO timelineBack in 2006, TM Software (a software development company headquartered in Reykjavík) implemented Atlassian’s popular project and issue-tracking platform, JIRA, throughout our organization. The developers on our custom web solutions teams loved JIRA, but were using an external platform to plan and track their time spent for client billing purposes, as well as for internal payroll. As a company that embraces Agile methodologies, this created a lot of hassle, headaches, wasted time, and even the possibility for inaccuracies. We needed an agile time tracking and planning solution that was so tightly integrated with JIRA, it felt like a part of the platform. We also wanted to measure how we used our time and whether we might improve our efficiency or better allocate our resources, and we needed reliable data to help us with those endeavors.

Initially, a handful of developers at TM Software was assigned to build the agile time tracking and resource planning plugin — now known as our Tempo Timesheets add-on — we so badly needed, and launched it for internal purposes. We ended up liking the solution we built so much, realized that there simply wasn’t a comparable solution available on the market, and launched it externally one year later with notable success.TEMPO facts

For several years, TM Software focused solely on building custom web solutions for customers, so the decision to launch into product development was a significant one — a leap that ended up benefitting us more than we initially anticipated.

We were able to accomplish this transition by bootstrapping: staying lean, making strategic decisions, and expanding only as our needs and resources evolved.

March 15, 2012

Waste vs Value – 7th Lean Startup Meetup

We had our 7th meetup on the Lean Startup and the topic of discussion today was Determining Waste vs Value. The biggest reason for waste in any process is big batches. The book refers to a number of examples where batching things in smaller sizes actually resulted in the overall job getting done faster and in addition to that reduced waste in the process. Here is one example, where the batch processing of stuffing envelops vs stuffing each envelop had a show down. We discussed how the product development cycle if done in a lean way could result in getting feedback faster from the customers by getting a usable product to the market. We also spoke about the Lean Manufacturing Process of Toyota, how the Pull method is used to replenish inventory rather than storing a large stock. Although my experience with Toyota in Iceland is very different, my Toyota 4Runner rear wiper broke and when I wanted to buy a replacement I was told that they need to order it for me, it took a couple of days but when it came I realized I needed to get the wiper unit as well once again it was not in stock. I basically informed them that I was not interested to wait another couple of days for the wiper, I will just find the old one and try to fix it to the new arm. So, it is not consistent that Toyota has the same process world over. In manufacturing, pull is used primarily to make sure production processes are tuned to levels of customer demand. Without this, factories can wind up making much more or less of a product than customer demand. Lean Startup models do not work this way, as customers often don’t know what they want. The goal of any lean startup in building products is to be able to run experiments that will help us learn how to build a sustainable business. Thus, the right way to think about the product development process in Lean Startup is that it is responding to pull request in the form of experiments that need to be run. It is not the customer, but rather our hypothesis about the customer need, that pulls work from product development and other functions. Any other work is waste.

There were a number of questions and examples of how testing was done to validate hypothesis. Kristjan shared some examples that Eric Ries, the man himself was sharing in SXSW last week in Austin, Texas. Kristjan will talk about SXSW experience next as it relates to the book and how the whole conference was organized. During the discussions, there were  a couple of questions related to how to apply the lean methods in established conservative organizations. I tried to give examples of how hypothesis testing can be done in any process. The end result is the key and defining success and/or failure is also key to test hypothesis.

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