<OurTeam to be “lean”>
The team MessageLeaf is relatively small. The core team members are
Yoshihito Kuranuki: Development Designer
Shiro Fujiwara: Project Coordinator
Teruo (Intel) Adachi: Chief Engineer
Eisuke (Ace) Suzuki: Product Owner
Although the above is our basic role, we often cover others’ roles very voluntarily. We are lean enough, but not too small to stop moving forward without one member.
We basically are doing “Lean Startup”. Once assumption is well boiled down through discussions, we develop “MVP (Minimum Viable Product)”. We test those MVPs either among ourselves or small number of participants depending on the maturity of the product. Getting various kinds of feedbacks, we keep improving.
<Two “Pivots” MessageLeaf has faced>
MessageLeaf has experienced a couple of “Pivots” so far. “Pivot”, a buzz word in Lean Startup, means a major direction change of the project.
The first one was when I first met Yoshihito last autumn. At that time, the original idea was kind of a button in which the site visitors can decide on the amount of appreciation to the content. I remember Yoshihito said that blog owners do not write blogs to get points or something, and he did not think those owners would like to set that kind of button.
I agreed, and through hot discussions, we generated a new idea of MVP that is a “Chrome extension” tool. If you use “Google Chrome” as a web browser, and set the tool, you can send your message to any website owners. We tested the ”Chrome Extension” version of MessageLeaf among us and my friends in the beginning of this year. After asking 15-20 of my friends to set up the tool, and watched how they reacted, out team felt the responses were not what we expected, so we decided to have a lunch party where the users or potential users at that time got together to talk through about their experiences or reactions.
After the luncheon in March, we felt the need of “pivot”. One thing was that many people did not use “Chrome” as their main browser. The other finding was that people did not get motivated as they were not sure if the leaf would be really read by the site owners. (Even if they can send MessageLeaf to any websites they want, the site owners would not read the leaf unless they also use MessageLeaf.)
We went through a serious discussion again, and within a couple of weeks, we managed to generate a new idea which basically is what we have right now.
I’m not sure how many more pivots we may have from now on, but I’m sure that our team is capable of handling the tough decision quickly as long as we are lean.