Myth Busters, Skeptics and Rambos: 3 Types of People Every Lean Startup Needs

There are specific types of people who can help you “get lean” more quickly and efficiently. Here's a look at three types of employees and leaders you need...

There has been a lot of talk of The Lean Startup model lately — and for good reason. I believe it’s the best way we know of to create new business models. Many startups have adopted the Lean Startup methodologies to help them solve some very hard problems in the initial stages of starting a business.

The Lean Startup is a set of principles that enables a startup to systematically identify the assumptions contained in its business model hypothesis and then validate or invalidate them. The Lean Startup model helps businesses spend less time working on and building the wrong thing; instead, it helps teams navigate their way to a business model and product or service that actually works.


Start with an All-Star Team

It isn’t hard to implement The Lean Startup model in your business — many have. But most organizations don’t realize that there are specific types of people who can help you “get lean” more quickly and efficiently. More importantly, these people can help you stave off convoluted processes and procedures that tend to creep into any growing organization.

So, what kind of employees and leaders do you need?


1. The Myth Busters

You’ve seen these guys on TV. They go to great lengths to prove or disprove a myth. Part of the Lean Startup model is validating the assumptions under which you operate. For example, “customers will buy my product if I make it” or “clients will be interested if I pitch it to them”.

That’s what a Myth Buster will do: validate or invalidate tirelessly. What works well? What doesn’t work at all? What is true, and what is false? They’ll use creative ways to expose the truth so it can be used to inform future decisions.


2. The Skeptic

You don’t need a doctor, per se, or someone with a large medical vocabulary to fix your startup — you need a skeptic. The TV show “House” features a character of the same name — Dr. House — who doubts, or at least questions, almost everything. This is a good trait for a person in a Lean Startup to possess.

If a part of your business model seems sketchy or unreliable, or simply sounds like it won’t work, then you need a “Dr. House” to challenge the idea. A skeptic will use impeccable rhetoric and intelligence to expose weaknesses in assumptions and processes. When everyone else is seeing dollar signs, Dr. House takes a step back and thinks twice to make sure the plan is feasible.


3. Rambo

You don’t necessarily need muscles, rage, and testosterone in your startup, but someone with the ferocity of Rambo will balance out the skepticism and logic of Dr. House and the Myth Buster.

Rambo makes a plan and goes for it; he doesn’t care if he has to run through a firing squad to do it. Even if his plan isn’t perfect, he stays singularly focused on the goal. You need someone who wants to simply go for it and will keep moving forward, no matter the obstacles. That’s your Rambo: determined, enthusiastic, and a little intense.


A Problem-Solving, Assumption-Busting, Goal-Achieving Startup

With these three types of people at a startup, you’ll be set up to run with the Lean Startup methodology. Rambo identifies a problem and develops a general idea of how he wants to solve it. He’s focused on the mission and won’t let anything deter him. He wants to discover a repeatable and scalable business model.

Dr. House, the skeptic, exposes the flaws in Rambo’s plans, and creates an environment in which all assumptions can be discussed and then validated or invalidated. Then the Myth Busters come in. They take the key assumptions the skeptic has produced and devise effective tests.

Once these tests have been performed, the Lean Startup model circles back to Rambo. His goal of discovering a repeatable and scalable business model advances and is now more realistic. See how all three personalities are needed to make this model work?

The Lean Startup model ensures you’re using the processes that work best for your business. And with Rambos, Dr. Houses, and Myth Busters on your side, you can create an elite and unstoppable Lean Startup squad.


Josh Cramer, Source: Joepyle Photography
Josh Cramer, Source: Joepyle Photography

Josh Cramer is the founder and CEO of Cramer Development, a word-class web and mobile application development company that helps clients create new businesses and products through ideation and technical services.


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