How The Lean Methodology Redefined The Way Digital Products Were Developed?

Business methodologies help you analyze the current process and revolutionize it to make it more efficient and result-oriented. One specific methodology is the lean business methodology that enables a business to streamline its processes by enabling a more agile, efficient, and less time-consuming digital product development process.

To some readers, the term lean business methodology may sound new/latest; however, this is certainly not the case. The lean business methodology has been there for years. Several big names in the business world, like Toyota and Nike, are leveraging this methodology to boost their processes while ensuring quality.

Since today’s subject is applying the lean business methodology in the digital world, we’re going to uncover some of the most aspiring traits of the lean business methodology and how it plays a critical role in speeding up the development of digital products.

From agile principles and ideas to the way businesses structure their teams for organizing and achieving a better workflow, all of these somehow relate to the lean business methodology. The brands mentioned above are a proven example of how this specific methodology can influence a product’s development.

So, with the intro out of the way, let’s get started exploring the lean methodology regarding digital product development, its implementations, benefits, and more.

What is lean product development?

Lean product development generally relates to the elimination of wasteful processes that lie between the development of processes. Technically, this methodology is aimed at improving business efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Usually, the teams involved in developing a digital product are stuck in the stages of integrating functionality, increasing the product’s value, and aligning the product according to the audience’s needs.

For example, suppose you want to include another feature in your design. In that case, you might want to test the product first by launching it and received customer feedback. This statement proves that most of the features and design elements are considered iteratively, based on short-cycle experimentations. This overall approach is obviously viable; however, it leads to more time-consuming digital product development.

In contrast, when we implement the lean product development methodology, we’re basically trying to achieve product development’s lean process to “cut the fat” from the process. This means that we’re adjusting the methods and process to improve the product development process by implementing cost savings and efficiencies.

Moreover, some core principles and approaches are implemented to achieve a lean state. These key lean principles enable an organization to foster continuous improvement over digital product development.

Let’s discuss the implementations of these lean principles.

Implementation of The Lean Methodology

Two key perspectives should be considered when implementing the lean business methodologies for enhancing the digital product development process.

  1. The main goal of implementing the lean business methodology should be to increase the business development process’s efficiency by eliminating wasteful processes and useless delays.
  2. The lean method implementation in digital product development should include different KPIs (key performance indicators) and OKRs (objective key results).
  3. The lean development method should be applied to different departments of an organization and not just the development sector.
  4. When implementing the lean development strategy, engineers and developers should consider all the processes involved in developing a digital product and eliminating their down-streaming effects.
  5. The method should improve visibility, coordination, and workflow after implementation.
  6. The knowledge attained before implementing lean should be considered for the effective creation of the digital product.
  7. The knowledge attained should be broken down into smaller processes to eliminate waste while adding more value to the product development process.
  8. The teams involved in the development should be told to plan their own working schedules and priorities.

How Lean Methodology Redefine Digital Product Development

The corporate world considers lean business process management the most viable medium to add value to their products by ensuring minimal cost and maximum quality. There are many entrepreneurs out there who are drawing inspiration from lean management to downsize their business processes.

The lean framework basically depends on improving the efficiency of the different stages of a product development cycle. This strategic planning and implementation results in quick, efficient, and accurate digital product development. There are ideation and iteration processes behind any digital product development,  and the lean methodology targets these processes specifically.

However, the lean business implementation should always aim to create quick processes without compromising the digital process’s quality. Unfortunately, some companies out there, especially startups, fail to thoroughly understand the concept of lean thinking. They out on the opportunity to improve the quality of the product while reducing cost and eliminating additional processes.

In the digital world, my perspective of implementing the lean methodology would relate to avoiding unnecessary processes. For example, suppose we’re developing an MVP (minimum viable product) for a customer. In that case, the approach should follow the processes listed below:

  1. Understanding the client’s requirements while creating opportunities for their business.
  2. The designing, developing, content, and marketing team should all be on the same page.
  3. The design and development processes should be correlated with each other. Once a page is designed, it should be immediately checked and dispatched to the development team for further processing.
  4. The content and marketing team should be aligned to extract maximum opportunities for the client’s business, ensuring higher SERPs ranking through content and fixing discrepancies.
  5. In the end, the different departments should cross-check their work, test for functionality or errors, and bring up all the pieces together to deliver the client’s MVP.

Did you notice that every process mentioned above is being followed by another process simultaneously? Well, working on two different things at the same time easily saves time and additional effort.

Moreover, the MVP’s final check should be conducted after the MVP prototype is ready. Some users would still question the viability of lean thinking, so here are a few reasons why lean product development is necessary for businesses.

3 Reasons Why Lean Method Works

1. It Changes the Culture of An Organization

Today, the app and digital product developers are leveraging emerging technologies; hence, they’re already familiar with the processes involved in making an organization’s processes efficient and accurate.

So, while seeking to improve performance sustainably, organizations can leverage the most intuitive and helpful technologies, i.e., “automation tools,” to improve their internal processes. In a world where 98% of businesses are thinking of leveraging digital technologies to increase efficiency, it’s quite obvious that you should start adapting to the emerging technologies too.

Speaking of the automation tools, there are several tools out there that help you easily manage and cross-check tasks in real-time, including Jira, Asana, and CircleCI.

Suggested Reading: How Automation Can Improve Office Environment

2.  Balancing An Organization’s Efficiency

Efficiency is the core element that the lean methodology focuses on. It is the process that needs to be quick and accurate to ensure a smooth and seamless digital product development.

Hence, by implementing lean, you reduce time and effort by eliminating wasteful processes and increasing accuracy and delivery. This elimination and increase add more value to the digital product you’re creating and allow you to focus more on satisfying your customers.

Moreover, there’s another aspect that is involved in the fray. This aspect is effectiveness. This aspect ensures the creation of the desired product. Once you ensure your processes’ effectiveness, you ensure a product’s creation just the way it was intended.

However, to achieve effectiveness, you would have to understand your client’s requirements thoroughly. This understanding would enable you to unlock innovation and create a valuable product proposition. These aspects, “efficiency” and “effectiveness,” are achieved by implementing the lean methodology.

3.  Fostering A Culture of Learning

Lean digital product development requires a better understanding of the product and internal processes to ensure a continuous digital development process. This feat, however, is achieved once you go through the information behind the client’s query and his/her product.

This means that you have to learn about the product. You would have to understand it completely. By developing the “Learning First” culture, you would be increasing your organization’s efficiency.

Your internal teams would accomplish the feat mentioned above by thoroughly understanding and learning the consumer interactions’ insights. Hence, the more informed your internal team is, the better they’ll integrate quality into the digital product.


Here’s your one-stop guide on how lean thinking and methodology redefine the way businesses are creating digital products. It’s a fact, curating, planning, and developing sophisticated digital products can be a daunting task.

We all have been in a situation where the deadlines are tight, and the only way to abide by them is by going beyond the mere 9 – 5 job timing to complete them.

However, by adapting to the lean business methodology, businesses can easily improve their internal processes and harness the power of automation and the latest technologies to foster a culture of efficiency and effectiveness.

Leaders can also enforce a culture of determination, learning, and lean thinking to get their employees on the same page. Leaders or entrepreneurs can also implement a culture of continuous improvement to enable their employees to stay on par with the latest practices.

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Jane Collen
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