The Lean Startup Methodology You Must Adopt When Shifting to Edtech
It seems like there are two kinds of planning styles for teachers. The first teacher will plan out the entire academic year, beginning at the end and working backward to the first day of school. The second teacher flies by the seat of their pants, hoping for instructional inspiration on the way in from the faculty parking lot.
Neither planning style is particularly useful if you decide to take your skills to an edtech startup.
Dale Carnegie once said, “An hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing.”
Certainly, having a plan is important, but at some point, you’ll have to stop planning and start doing. You need to explore how well the market might respond to your product and then get it consumers’ hands. One of the first lessons an edtech entrepreneur learns is that you don’t make any money unless you have a viable product, and that takes action on your part.
The plan will take you only so far; then it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. There are several milestones for you to meet along the way, but it’s critical that you keep the journey as simple as possible.
The minimum viable product
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the most basic (and often first) iteration of your product.
Rather than spend years (and even decades) designing an edtech product that will solve every known problem in education, it’s better to start small and see where student and teacher needs will take you. Education is always changing. You don’t have to predict how to respond to those changes in ten years. You just have to solve one small problem now.
You’ll experience rapid prototyping and pivots once you launch your MVP. Every MVP needs adjustments and revisions, and that will take some flexibility and nimbleness on your part. When that happens, you’ll be glad you didn’t spend all of your time planning. By then, you’ll have a product that you can sell.
Making the most of your feedback loops
Once you sell your MVP to a few customers, it’s time to find out what they think. You’ll have some product validation, and that will help you determine your next steps: continue refining the product, build a business that supports the product or both.
Teachers make use of feedback loops all the time, and they work in edtech startups, as well. You’ll need:
· constructive criticism that specific and purposeful,
· points toward making corrections, and
· allows for self-reflection.
The feedback you gather will point you in the direction of changes that need to be made.
Work smart, be smart, do more
The essence of lean startup methodology in any edtech startup is to work smarter, not harder.
Taking each step as it comes is a smart way to launch an edtech startup. By being willing to embrace the journey, you are more likely to be effective in solving some of education’s most pressing concerns.
Best of all, you will have been putting your attention where it’s needed the most – at the current phase in the process. You won’t have wasted time planning something never meant to come to fruition.