Lean Media Project Planner – some examples

By | March 2, 2016

Last month I introduced the Lean Media Project Planner for new media ventures. It’s a one-page tool for creators/producers/entrepreneurs to plan the development of new ventures using the core tenets of the lean media framework.

Today, I am sharing some examples that illustrate how it works. I am starting with Led Zeppelin I (a lean media example that I have covered before) and then move on to two projects I have worked on in my own career, including one that is still a work in progress!

So, Led Zeppelin I. It was a groundbreaking hard-rock album from the late 1960s that followed many lean media concepts, even if the creators (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones) didn’t know it at the time. I have retroactively applied the various elements from the fall of 1968 to the lean media project planner, to illustrate how a musical venture might leverage the lean media framework:

lean media project planner led zeppelin

When it comes to Led Zeppelin, journalists and rock historians don’t place much value on the two early tours, but in my opinion the band’s experiences in 1968 performing in front of live audiences really served as prototyping sessions for the songs that would eventually appear on their first album.

It’s also important to note that the band (and manager Peter Grant) did not utilize audience feedback during the later prototyping sessions, or during the “soft launch” period in which the record was shopped around to record labels. By that point, I believe the band, Grant, and Glyn Johns knew they had a winner, and the early audience feedback really contributed to the success of the album.

I also shared two examples from my own career. The first is the In 30 Minutes book series, laid out according to the lean media project planner:

lean media project planner in 30 minutes guidesI was very methodical when I launched the series, and was actively using the proto-lean media concepts, after my first venture (a mobile software startup) failed. This October 2012 blog excerpt explains my thinking at the time:

For venture #2, I vowed that Lean methods would be applied to product, marketing, and channel development from the very beginning. I started with a testable hypothesis: People don’t want to spend a lot of time learning or reading about mildly complex software tools, but are willing to pay a premium for quality “how-to” ebooks that teach them how to use these tools in a short period of time.

How do you go Lean with digital content? You don’t overanalyze or plan things for months. That is the way established media companies operate. Instead, the priorities need to be:

  1. Creating new content

  2. Getting it in front of people

  3. Seeing how they react to marketing, pricing, and product

  4. Iterating

The example above includes the real lean media processes involved in creating a book brand. Early sales figures and feedback from readers influenced production decisions, pricing, and content.

Finally, here is the Lean Media Project Planner for a current video project which is still in the prototyping stages:

lean media project planner in 30 minutes videoAt the time I wrote this, I was still on prototype #3. We’ll see how feedback influences #4 and the soft launch … and if it’s good, I expect that I will develop the video series further in the coming year.


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