Print this chart, fill the 9 fields, and you are ready to build a successful product.
What Is a Lean Canvas
Lean Canvas is a very useful visual planning method. It is a big chart with 9 fields describing the key assumptions of your business model. It is used for:
- Creating a new product or for developing an existing one.
- It helps you identify the uncertainties and risks.
- It can be used for the whole product and also for each product feature.
Lean Canvas was created by Ash Maurya as a development of the Business Model Canvas.
The whole team has to participate in creating the Lean Canvas model. All the 9 fields in the scheme have to be filled and it should not take longer than 20 minutes. It is recommended to fill the chart in the following order, and then read it from left to right:
- Customer segment
- Unique value proposition
- Unfair advantage
- Revenue streams
- Cost structure
- Key metrics
To get the correct output, the scheme requires data from the following teams:
- Business Team
- Analytic Team
- Compliance Team (for defining the customers' segment)
- Technical Leaders
- Product Management
Why You Might Want the Lean Canvas
Lean Canvas quickly addresses the important question: is the business project worth creating?
A simple visual chart helps with communicating the offer to customers. It is clear, easy to share and it can be updated as frequently as needed. It also helps with creating the elevator pitch or MVP (minimum viable product).
Lean Canvas is also an easy tool for the team to help them understand the business product.
Problems the Lean Canvas Solves
- Demotivated team
- Increased cost
- Bad product-market fit
- Meaningless work
- "Not my problem" mentality
- Unhappy client
- Toxic team culture
- Disconnection with business
How to Implement the Lean Canvas
The chart can be created:
- As the very first step when designing a new product
- During strategic planning sessions
- For the whole product or business plan
- For each product feature
- With the team
- With the business partners
Common Pitfalls of the Lean Canvas
- Make sure to fill the chart with an open mind. A common mistake is to have the conclusions already in mind and to adjust the chart to reach them.
- Avoid refilling the chart if the conclusions are not as positive as expected.
- Lean Canvas is commonly mistaken to be a tool only for startups. The chart can be used by a company of any size and any business approach. It was proven to be useful for documenting the product at any stage of development.
Resources for the Lean Canvas
- Leanstack: The Lean Canvas
- Medium: Lean Canvas is the New Business Plan
- Leanstack: Why Lean Canvas vs Business Model Canvas?
- Leanstack: Why and How to Model a Non-profit on the Lean Canvas
- Leanstack: A Lean Canvas is NOT Enough to Replace a Business Plan
- Youtube: Lean Canvas Example