The amazingly good feeling of shipping.

Do you like to check boxes?  I sure do. Recently, I started using trello to organize and run scrum/agile at the Texas Venture Labs.  We all love scrum and I can tell you why: it feels good to ‘move a ticket to done’, e.g. to check the box.  Done.  Shipped.  Over.  Fini.

What else is done? My book, Lean Startings, is done!  I shipped it yesterday 3/16/2017.  To Amazon.  It’s available now for Kindle ($9.99) or Paperback ($24.99) on Amazon.  It feels oh so good.  Ahhhhh, shipping!

So, how did I do it?   How did I write a book while raising a family, working full-time, and working on my own startup?  The same way that I got my PhD while working 2 full-time jobs and raising a family: persistence and daily progress.  In fact, I broke the book down into 36 chapters, and wrote a chapter a day, skipping weekends.  I finished the book in about 3 months (a few days I was traveling and couldn’t write).  Yep, in one summer, I created something, something that could help people succeed in startups better than ever.  Along the way I got to check 36 boxes (each chapter), and just now, the final checkbox (shipped!).  Shipped is the best one to check by the way, and I’m only sad I didn’t check it sooner!

So, what are you sitting on that you could ship?  Don’t wait for perfection, ship it now.  You can always revise it later.


(My reward yesterday for shipping was: gaming, beer AND bourbon)

p.s. Got feedback on my book? I welcome it here or directly to me by email.

New Year’s 2017: Startup Resolution Revolution

This is an opus, a plea, a dream. This is 2017.
Let us agree to put an end, to the old startup trend.
Old startup was weak, it had a faint reek.
It smelled of false hopes, of untested dreams.

In 2017, we dream big still, but without the frill.
We dream and we test, and leave out the rest.
We give all we have to Lean, Lean Startup I mean.
No false hopes, just tested and true.  Lean Startup starts with you.

It’s a revolution, not just a resolution.
It’s a way of life, not just a passing trife.
Your way is simple, if you choose to accept it.
Just test your idea, before you reject it.

Get started today, if you want to, you may.
Don’t fear the failure spider, to fail is more righter.
It’s right to fail small, so try it all.
Lean Startup is trying, with the minimum of lying.

If your a funder, I plead. Demand more than greed.
Demand proof of their traction, before you do the deed.
Make sure they are tested, and validated and nested.
Make sure their growth, value, and problem, are all three fully vested.

So, this opus to you, this silly sentence so true?
It’s about you and your startup, and starting up too.
Get started with Lean, buy my book to help the team.
Make progress without funding, and deliver the dream!

Harlan T. Beverly, PhD
The University of Texas at Austin

The 3 Things Great Managers AND Employees Do ~ Consistently

When it all comes down to it, great managers get results.  How do you get results?  It’s not planning, it’s not charisma, it’s not even passion.  All of those things are great but useless without these 3 things.

If you are not doing these 3 things, and doing them well, you are probably going nowhere fast.  That’s a strong statement, let’s see if you disagree… comments welcome!

1. Prioritize

If you just do whatever you think of, you are going to get behind.  You MUST prioritize those things you KNOW will get results above those things you THINK will get results.  And even those things you just think will get results, prioritize those too, to the ones you think will be most likely to get the results.

PRO TIP – Every morning, get on an exercise bike and open or  (2 good online tools). Prioritize tasks to ones you think are most important to get results.

2. Draft Quickly

 If you aren’t getting things done quickly, you’ll never even get through all the important things, let alone to those things you think will get results.  The best managers and employees create drafts of stuff (whatever it is) very quickly.  Then, they refine the draft later up until the point where the quality meets expectations, then stop.  They don’t over-engineer, over-design, or over-think their work: it’s done it’s done.  Ship it.  This is a key to shipping, get to a draft and see if it’s good enough.  Ship when it is.

PRO TIP – Writer’s block?  Just write it in super simple plain English.  That usually reads better anyways.  Remember, emails should be 2 or 3 sentences MAX!  I like to send emails of 4 or 5 WORDS when I can.

3. Delegate / Get Help Fast

Overloaded managers need to learn this trick: find someone you trust and ask them to “own” part of your project.   This is not asking for group-work, this is asking them to “own it” and get it done.  I’ve blogged a lot about ownership, and for good reason… it’s been a key to my personal success for years.  Not having it, but giving it out!

Not a manager?  This applies to you too.  Delegate ownership of your work if you are overloaded.  Even better, ASK FOR HELP FAST!  If you are blocked, even 1% blocked, asking for help to get unblocked will keep you moving, make your boss happy, and more importantly, teach you something that will probably prevent you from getting blocked again in the future.

PRO TIP – Develop skills that help you get unblocked.  For example, learn how to Draft Quickly!  Also, learn how to “make a simple website“.

Harlan T. Beverly, PhD on a Business Trip to Mexico

Harlan Teaching “Lean Startup Essentials” at the University of Texas Austin – Spring 2016

This coming semester, I will be teaching Lean Startup Essentials!   The 2-3:30pm section (section 2) still has seats open.  
NOTE: THIS COURSE IS OPEN TO ALL UT STUDENTS ( from any College, not just McCombs School of Business )!
 Tuesdays & Thursdays from    2pm-3:30 in CBA 4.344

If you are a UT Student, you can login with this link to register:

Want to know what this course is all about?   
First, hear what some students had to say:
  “great class”
  “awesome teacher”
  “course was awesome”
  “most practical class … at UT”
  “unique content and very useful”

Okay, interested?  Here’s the course description:

This course uses the “Lean Startup” concept as a canvas to give students the essential knowledge needed to either start their own business or join a startup and be a major contributor.  In addition to learning about entrepreneurship, the legal aspects of starting a business, and the life and experience of working at a startup, students will get hands-on skills they can use in any startup or to start their own business.  Every student will practice these skills in-class by building a real startup business (based on a pre-set collection of products and services).  This course focuses on the “Lean Startup” methodology, but will also cover the traditional new venture development and the entrepreneurial process (problem identification, innovation, business plans, fund raising, launching, and managing a startup). This course will also cover the essential knowledge derived from entrepreneurship research covering proven keys to success as well as scientific research about what it takes in an individual and group to succeed in entrepreneurship.  The final project is one of the pre-set business ideas, up, running, and operating in the build-measure-learn cycle that is the core of the “Lean Startup” methodology.

Prerequisites: None.

Need more?  Here’s a link to the syllabus for this Spring: 

Got a question, email me!
harlan.beverly@mccombs.utexas  (and dot edu of course)

If you build it, they will come. Bad advice? Or maybe good!

The old adage that “if you build it, they will come” is usually considered very bad marketing advice.  In recent times, however, I actually think it has become Good advice, especially if reworded just slightly…

“If you build it, they MIGHT come” is probably some of the best marketing advice I can give.
In this world if lean startup, minimum viable product (MVP) and bootstrapping entrepreneurship, one of the most important things to do is to”ship it” and see if customers come and like it, and iterate quickly based on that feedback.
At Key Ingredient we recently formalized these concepts and declared ourselves an “Agile Company”.
What will you ship this year?
My thought?   See photo I took at CES 2015 below!

3 Planning Techniques to Save your Job: Agile, Scrum, and Kanban

If you don’t know about Agile, Scrum, and Kanban, this short write-up should help get you on your way… and could change your life and save your job.

I’ve broken this into three parts, Part 1 and 2 are here… Part 3 is coming soon (my colleague Lucina is helping me with it).

Part 1: Learn why Waterfall Planning (the kind you do every day for yourself and at your work) is BROKEN!

Part 2: Learn why Agile and Kanban can save your job… and make you more money… and frankly, live a less stressful, more fulfilling life (and career).  This presentation even shows you how to implement a personal Kanban to keep your life in order: with a real example from my favorite Kanban tool which is

Part 3: Learn about Scrum, and why it may be even better than Kanban (depending on your situation)… and exactly how to do it at your company!

*** COMING SOON: Lucina is putting this together ***