I am reading the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries more to validate my own experience the past 17 years and how I wish all of the business owners, project managers, and entrepreneurs embrace the philosophy. I am not too picky on the terms being used but I learnt it the hard way that if your product to market cycle is 18 months… fugetabatit!
I started my career working on a bleeding edge Java Development Project in 1999 using NetDynamics for one of the largest gas pipeline companies in the US. It was a great experience, learning a new programming language, development environment with over 100 developers, hundreds of millions of dollars in development budget, long work days, nights and weekends. When I look back it was a StartUp, the solution we were building was to take the entire business process of the gas pipeline company online over http so their customers could interact with the overall business process. Very ambitious project, with a small problem when we were ready to go live Sun Microsystems decided to discontinue support of NetDynamics the application server and development environment that we were using as Sun just announced a new specification for Java 2 Enterprise Edition. We had 3 months to port all our web pages (265 pages if I remember correctly) to the new specification and move the entire development team away from NetDynamics to IBM‘s Visual Age for Java. Long story short, I was one of the Architects in the Migration project, we successfully completed the transition and the current solution is live and I am told is being used as it was intended. There were so many lessons during the first 3years and last 3 months of my development experience that I wish I could share and I think Eric Ries has done that in the book. I highly recommend the book, you don’t have to follow everything verbatim but the philosophy is more important and should be applied in all product development. Smaller development cycles, faster releases, constant customer feedback and product improvement.