Software product development is hard enough. It’s harder still when our investment of resources is based on a set of untested assumptions. The probability that we perfectly address each of the hundreds or thousands (millions?) of assumptions, hypotheses, and decisions is super low. Once we get comfortable with the idea that many of our assumptions are wrong, we can embrace the uncertainty and engage the anxiety that comes from it.
In this episode, Sean and Joe chat with Dan Olsen, Silicon Valley-based consultant, author, speaker, and proponent of the Lean Startup approach to software product development. Dan reminds us that the surest way to eliminate anxiety is to confront its causes. Articulate your hypotheses and test them. Whatever the outcome, the evidence you gather from user testing will boost your confidence as your anxiety fades.
Whether through his consulting work, speaking engagements, or monthly Lean UX Meetup, Dan enjoys building communities of learners. He recommends checking out the following thought leaders and their work:
Make Time, by Jake Knapp.
UX for Lean Startups, by Laura Klein.
Interviewing Users, by Steve Portigal.
Dan Olsen is an entrepreneur, consultant, author, speaker, and expert in product management and Lean Startup. At Olsen Solutions, he works with CEOs and product leaders to help them build great products and strong product teams, often as interim VP of Product.
Dan has worked with a range of businesses, from small, early-stage startups to large public companies, on a wide variety of web and mobile products. His clients include Facebook, Box, Microsoft, YouSendIt (now HighTail), Epocrates, Medallia, XING, Financial Engines, and One Medical Group.
Prior to consulting, Dan worked at Intuit, where he led the Quicken product team to record sales and profit. Dan began his career designing nuclear-powered submarines in the United States Navy.
Dan earned a BS in electrical engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from Stanford University. He also earned a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Virginia Tech, where he studied the Lean manufacturing principles that inspired Lean Startup.
Dan wrote the bestseller The Lean Product Playbook. He lives in Silicon Valley, where he hosts the monthly Lean Product & Lean UX Meetup. Dan enjoys sharing ideas and comparing notes with as many people as he can.