We are constantly developing our lean startup tools and we have recently updated our lean dashboard template for anybody to use. It has evolved through our own observations building companies, as well as the great practice of Ash Maurya, Alex Osterwalder, Lean Startup Machine and Jim Collins.

You can grab a copy from our Tools page. This post is a quick introduction to get it out there. We’ll do more detailed posts on specific pieces in the future. You can also attend one of Building Lean Startups courses for a full immersion.

The Lean Dashboard is the tool that we use to track our progress of BUILD > MEASURE > LEARN that is at the heart of Lean Startup.

Here ‘s a very quick run through of how to use the Lean Dashboard

SETUP

  • Log into your Google account
  • Open the template
  • File > Save a Copy
  • Share with your team

COVER

The cover is a summary of who you are, what your purpose is and how much time you have.

  • Write in the name of your company. If this is a brand new idea, still have a punt at a name. It is powerful to name something to start making it real. You can always change it later.
  • Write in your ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ – coined by Jim Collins in ‘Good to Great’, this is a statement of ambition. What will you strive to become. It should be a stretch. In Pollenizer we call this our ‘Top Right’ imagining the journey from where we are today with no revenue or traction through time to the right as we gain traction, customers, value and revenue.
  • Change the ‘Phase’ to 1,2 or 3. This keeps us all aligned with the stage or our startup and the things we need to great right. It is based on the Marmer Stages in the Startup Genome Project. If you skip a stage and ‘inconsistently’ grow, you will increase the chance of failure.
  • Write in how many weeks you have left. This is your runway. When does it all end? When do you run out of resources? This may be money, time that you can afford to not take a wage, patience of your partner, time a big company has given your team.

We review this every week, even if it rarely changes.

LEAN CANVAS

This is your one page business plan. You can have lots of these as your startup evolves towards becoming a business. On the first day we collect our hypotheses and, over time, we mark which ones we prove to be a fact with our experiments. The process is, collect the whole canvas, hen mark which cells are HYPOTHESIS (all at the start) and which are FACT (because you have evidence to show from experiments).

A lean canvas with empty cells is a fragile business that could have a hidden flaw. Complete it all. It is OK if the content is just a hypothesis for now. As long as it all makes sense.

METRICS DASHBOARD

How are you measuring that a sustainable business model is emerging?

You don’t need to complete all of these metric fields. Just decide which are important to your startup.

This business is looking at it’s main conversion funnel using Dave McClure’s Startup Metrics for Pirates.

  • Select which metrics are important
  • Define the metric with what you will specifically measure.
  • Change the big number to what you are seeing this week in your data
  • Change the smaller number to what you want to hit as a target
  • The sparkline on the right is fed from the next tab – Metric Tracking

Metric Tracking

This is where we track each metric week on week. As with the dashboard, it is not necessary to track everything. You need to decide what is important.

Experiments

This is where we track what we learn through the lean startup BUILD > MEASURE > LEARN loop.

  • Add the date that the experiment starts.
  • Write the hypothesis that you want to prove in the BUILD cell, indicating that the experiment is being assembled. This could be a manual test or an actual feature being built in your product to validate a hypothesis.
  • When it is is built, move the hypothesis to the MEASURE cell while you are collecting data by seeing what real customers/users do.
  • When you have collected data, move it along again to the LEAN cell where you look at the data as a team to see what you have learned.
  • We then move it to the DONE cell to show that the experiment is over. At this stage we write in the METRIC that proves our hypothesis valid or invalid and we write “Valid” or “Invalid” in the final cell.

Good Luck

I hope this is useful for you. Let me know how you go in the comments.

3 comments

  • AshleyAitken

    Great stuff Phil – thanks for sharing! Small typo: “patience or your partner” that I believe should be “patience of your partner”

    Reply
    • Phil Morle

      Thanks Ashley – corrected typo :)

      Reply
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