Lean UX: how to start? 6 simple steps

Lean UX how to start

We learn new tools, methods, approach. We read about it and find out more and more… And now we know – that’s exactly how our organization should function!
Full of enthusiasm, we try to implement changes in the new project, but what we encounter is nothing but resistance and misunderstanding – why no one – except us – can see the need for these changes?
As with other improvements, in the case of Lean UX, the implementation of the new approach is a whole process, not a one-time act. You can read about how to start the Lean UX process in the article below.


If you would like to learn more about what Lean UX is and how this approach applies to the classic process – you’ll find more information in this article.


The process of introducing Lean UX to an organization should be considered from at least three perspectives:

  • as a process of implementing change in the organization (motivation, communication, team commitment),
  • of our readiness as an ambassador – a change inspirer (are we ready to make mistakes?)
  • and from the perspective of an action plan that will allow not only to introduce change but also to influence the way of thinking about the product design process.

Let’s go through all three perspectives so that you could learn how to start the process of working with Lean UX in your team.


Implementing changes is a team game

First, let’s say a few words about the implementation of changes in organizations – why so many of them fail (McKinsey & Company estimates that it’s about 70% of them)?

Many of the reasons listed by McKinsey & Company are actually about…the way changes are made. The problems we face most often are the lack of vision of changes in communication, too drastic plan for their implementation or…lack of team commitment to their design.

Therefore, we definitely should consider these threats before we proceed to their implementation:

  • talk with colleagues about areas that could be improved – to explore/increase awareness of problems – or ideas for solutions,
  • organize sessions where you can share inspirations for solutions or design your own ones (using the DesignThinking methodology, for example)
  • or invite your team to “experience change” in the form of a demo so that they could assess what’s attractive and valuable to them – in the form of a Sprint Design, for example, that will allow them to become familiar with the new form.

By including the team in diagnosing and designing solutions, we provide much easier assimilation of change and a common understanding of its needs, which is a good foundation for further actions.

If you would like to find out more about Lean Change Management, watch the recording of Joanna Ostafin’s speech, where she explains how changes are designed and implemented by the Project: People team.



“But before you start, learn to make mistakes first…” – let’s make sure we are ready

What we can’t avoid working in accordance with the Lean UX approach is making mistakes. Lean UX somehow forces us to make these mistakes, but at such a rate that they result in a continuous increase in knowledge, which results in better decision-making based on facts rather than suppositions.

However, still allowing consent to make mistakes (especially for those striving for perfectionism) is a key component of this method, so before we start using it in our team, make sure…we are ready for it.









Permission to make mistakes is not only the most common problem when working with our team, our boss, clients, but also with ourselves.

Read a little more about this aspect in the article “Before you start working in Lean UX – learn to make mistakes first”.


Lean UX – how to start? Useful tips whenever we’re ready

And when we are ready then… how to start implementing Lean UX, but in practice? Small steps – let’s change our thinking and next – let’s introduce tools. Here are some steps that work well with different teams:

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    • Ask for value.
      The transition to the Lean UX process is primarily a change of thinking from “Someone told me what to do” to “Why are we doing this? What value and for whom could this solution bring?” This change will help stimulate all colleagues to look for motives and purpose. Investigate if that’s the only way to deliver the expected value, or maybe if you’re able to achieve it using a simpler solution.
    • Invite other people from the team (not just other UX designers!) to both the research and concept stages.
      Often, we don’t even realize how many ideas and how much curiosity other team members have since we don’t have the opportunity to discuss, for example, research scenario together. Invite people to create research/experiments as well as to discuss the results and draw conclusions together.
    • “We know it. Is that a hypothesis?” – ask about it with every new idea someone comes up with.
      Then ask: “What’s the worst thing that can happen if we make a mistake?” This way, we can bly realize the scale of the consequences. If we build the product based only on assumptions or we are not interested in where these assumptions come from, checking will allow us to see the greatest value of experiments.
    • Introduce one new tool at a time.
      Try to introduce no more than one new tool for the whole team at a time. As soon as your colleagues see its value, introduce the next ones. Maybe next time you’ll use Lean UX Canvas, Lean Canvas, Experiment Sprint Canvas or Product Vision Board?
    • Organize a one-day sprint workshop on Lean UX…
      Once the team is ready and open to experiment with new approaches, familiarize them with the Lean UX method. A one-day workshop – a sprint, during which you will learn the principles, advantages, cases of using the method and, at the same time, go through the whole process – will allow you to think about how to implement Lean UX in your organization. The workshop will also be an appropriate opportunity to organize knowledge and develop standards. For larger teams, it’s worth organizing a series of workshops and exchange of good practices – this will support the implementation of the new process.
    • …or create a team for special assignments.
      Under the guidance of an experienced facilitator (equivalent to Scrum Master), the team could be delegated to examine the potential development opportunities for your main product. This kind of team could provide pre-verified ideas to the regular process, exploring and validating the next ideas themselves.

    These few steps will allow you to initiate the process of transformation in your organization into a more “agile” – not only in the design team itself, but also outside of it.

    Let’s remember, however, that this is a whole process and – depending on the team – it may take longer or less – but satisfaction with the effects will be priceless.

    Good luck!


    Useful links:

    Lean UX: Beauty or the Beast? When Lean UX makes sense

    Lean UX: how to get started

    “Before you start working in Lean UX – learn to make mistakes first”.

    Integrating a Lean UX Process – Product Management Insider

    Implementing Lean UX in the real world

    Lean UX: how to get started

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    Joanna Ostafin
    She starts most of her conversations by saying "I have an idea". Joanna is a serial initiator and co-founder of many organizations, brands, and communities. On a daily basis, she is a CEO at Project: People and develops the DesignWays brand.

    Co-founder of Project: People, Project: Values, DesignWays Conf, and DesignWays Hub. She has created several communities, including the Krakowska Inicjatywa Designerska [Krakow Design Initiative] and the Product Culture Community.

    She enjoys sharing her knowledge during workshops and conferences - she was a speaker at Grafconf, the UX in Business Conference, Mobile Trends Conference, ProductCamp, Bitspiration, and many others. She is a lecturer at the Tischner European University and WSB Universities. Author of the “+25 to workshop equipment” e-book.

    Totally in love with the lean approach, especially Lean Startup & Lean UX. Big fan of educational projects, workshops, Product Discovery process, and... people. Privately an amateur of street workout and obstacle races.

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