Ship + Sell + Learn = Innovation Progress Tool

How do you measure progress in an early stage innovation project or a startup? Here are three control questions to ask each week:

1. Did we ship? As in, did we build and deliver a substantial new offering to real customers?

2. Did we sell? As in, did we make sales in line with our growth target?

3. Did we learn? As in, did we get any new insight that significantly moved our project forward?

A good week you can “score” on all 3. How many such weeks do you have in a month?

To keep track of a portfolio of innovation teams or startup, use the Ship-Sold-Learned-Progress Meter Tool, which is an Excel file that helps you track teams over time. It looks like this:

Notice how each team gets to define their own level for what shipping, learning and selling means. They should also design their own celebration rituals for when they make progress. 3 points in one iteration (week): CHAMPAGNE TIME!

Erik Starck

Erik is a Lean Forward partner and the CEO of the company.