Thanks for the feedback – point taken – 1st bullet point is a bit exaggerated to make a point – all businesses and projects (including a consultant like me) have overhead and do things that don’t directly benefit the customer.
In discussing this book with another person, a comment was made:
the Lean Startup has excellent ideas, but I think they apply most directly to SaaS businesses with some sort of statistically significant user base for testing. The general principles of being lean, building as little as possible, minimizing waste, etc, are still valid, just harder to run quantitative experiments with. “learning” as a unit of progress is a tricky thing.
I’ve been puzzling over metrics, as I’m not very good at utilizing them. Even as a consultant, I’m lazing and don’t measure and track billable hours/week as I should be doing. Measuring things is hard and takes discipline. And in the end, many things cannot be measured and measuring the wrong things or misinterpreting results is worse that not measuring at all.
On one project we are using Kanban boards to track tasks and I suggested we start adding start/end dates to cards (Start when card moves to doing column, and end when card moves to done column). Initially this was deemed impractical by some developers as some tasks are unpredictable, some take more time than others, etc. However, as I thought about this, I decided that goal here was not to judge developers on their SLOC/hour, cards/week, etc, but rather encourage developers to estimate their work better (what you will get done in the next 1-2 weeks). If your cards routinely take you 2 months to finish, perhaps you should break things down a little more. Kanban cards should have good velocity for a board to work well. However, most of us get lazy, create over-general cards that encompass weeks worth of work. There is value in breaking down work into smaller chunks as it improves focus and better communicates with the team what we are doing. But alas, I’m talking about a metric that is not about direct customer value , however there is indirect value.