The Power Of Small Batches In Your Projects

I am listening to The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I read the book a few years ago, and it is well worth the refresh. In the book, Eric talks about the power of small batches. The power of small batches is that instead of doing your work assembly-line style, you finish each product before moving on the next one. This start-to-finish production approach has a few advantages:

You discover very quickly if there is a problem with what you are working on.

If your company is planning to build a bike, and you spend your first step of the process producing wheels on your assembly line you might not find out until later that the wheels are too small. On the other hand, if you build one bike at a time, you will find out that the wheels are too small after only producing one bike.

You have a psychological benefit of producing finished goods.

Dave Ramsey suggests that people who are in debt should focus on paying off their smallest debt first. Even though there are other debts with greater interest rates, conquering a single smallest debt has a hugely positive psychological effect. It gives the person motivation in their success. It also has the added benefit that once a first debt has been paid off, all of the money can be used to focus on the next debt.

You can get immediate customer feedback to make your product better.

If you wait until you have a large batch of finished products, and then try to sell them to customers, you might find that there is an essential feature that is missing. You then have a choice: go back and add the feature to all of the products that you have already produced, or sell what you have and add the functionality to the next batch. If you have only produced a small batch, adding the feature to existing products, and quickly adding it to future production is very easy to do.

The Power Of Small Batches In Projects

The power of small batches applies to your projects also. Don’t spend all of your time working on a project that will be released in one big bang. Work on releasing a continuous stream of small improvements that work for the people who will benefit from your project. Make sure that what you release is complete as a package in itself. (Don’t release half-working projects.) By delivering complete and working products on a regular schedule you will quickly know if there is a problem with what you are producing, you will benefit from the snowball effect, and you will be able to react to customer feedback immediately.