Team Academy is about learning. We use a definition for learning: [Action x Reflection]Team members. It is the basic of our learning. We use great learning tools: Motorola’s, the learning contract, customer visits. Still it seems a clear process to connect these is missing, a thread in the learning process to follow. It may be implicitly there, but not explicitly.  That could be on purposes, however let’s take a moment to consider how it would be to add a process to connect these tools in another way. That is what Eric Ries could be adding to the rocket model: a process. In this essay I propose to delete ‘Customers and marketing’ in the rocket model and replace it with ‘Build Measure Learn’ instead:

Build Measure Learn cycle

Students should learn achieving big hairy goals in small steps or learning cycles. They should learn to think in minimum viable products; define learning goals in a Motorola, build the MVP, measure its success and learn. Than repeat the cycle as many times until you reach the goal or need to pivot and establish new goals.

This way of working has several advantages, it is faster (Lean Start Up: working a batch of 1), it is cheaper as less investment is required and results are better.

The Build Measure Learn cycle is all about customers. Therefor it fits very well between the circles ‘Prospective customers’ and ‘Deep customer relationships’. Marketing fits here too of course, but I regard –at Team Academy- marketing more as a support process than a main process. For one thing, most of the projects do not have a marketing budget, but more importantly most actions are directly with customers and are one to few activities.

Pre-motorola questions could be modified

The premotorola questions are great. Still I like to add or amend some questions, in order to link it better to the BML process. These questions I like to add:

–        what hypothesis am I going to test

–        how am I going to measure the result

–        what skills do we need to achieve this

Each Pre-Motorola should start with the following:

–        Project

–        Project phase

–        Value Hypothesis

–        Growth hypothesis

The Motorola could also contain the following questions the 4 key questions when launching a product:

  1. Do customers recognize that they are having the problem you are trying to solve,
  2. If there was a solution, would they buy it?
  3. Would they buy it from us?
  4. Can we build a solution for that problem?

Post motorola’s are focussed on learning in a qualitative way. It is interesting to add more quantitative measure, such as:

–        What were the measured results

–        Were the results refute or confirm the hypothesis?

The question ‘what did we learn in this project could be changed to:

–        What did we learn in this iteration?

In this way the Motorola’s will support the process of the ‘Build Measure Learn’ cycle.

Also the Motorola’s will become more project focused.


I aspect which is under valued at the moment at Team Academy is measurement, not only finance but of all results. A consequence of this change is that students would be invited to learn how to measure results in a more consistent way.


This essay is meant to open a discussion on the subject of integrating the lean startup model into the Team Academy tools .

Looking forward for your input!


  1. Arjen,
    Thanks for opening the model with suggestions to improve and integrate the learning proces even more.
    I do like the build measure learn flow. Starting with good questions, testing in as mnay cycles as required and then measure.
    How can we bring it one step further?

  2. Arjen, great done! I have to do the Lean Startup essay, but I like you have made the first step.

    Some key thoughts for me based on what you wrote… I don’t know if I understood well, but here it goes:

    The BML is great, but when you do it based on the products or services you sell. We, in Karmacracy, do use BML as a process, and interact them with some TA tools. In this case, the process is like this: for the product (“Karmacracy”), we have key metrics defined (the most important thing!), we gather together every two weeks (“a sprint”, based on scrum), we question ourselves what do we want to learn, and we write down all the actions we will do. Next sprint meeting (TS), we check the results, and redo it.

    For me, here, the most important thing to do is to define good metrics and mantain them.

    I like the idea of putting it inside RM (Rocket Model), maybe counting the number of cycles you have done as a metric itself of how good you are mastering this process… The question I arise here is: do all TA companies work as “startups” (as defined in Lean Startup, “companies in which uncertainity is too big”)? For example, thinking in INIT SERVICES, not all my teams work with products or services as startups, and I don’t know how they could apply BML to their daily work.

    On the other hand, I don’t see Marketing being replaced in the RM. For me, Marketing is one of the MAIN processes to master; and I think people should not lose focus on that. What I was wondering myself is if this Marketing bubble should starting thinking also about how to add ONLINE MARKETING techniques.

    Marketing is the way we get to people. Generally, 30-40% of the budget of each product or service should be focused on Marketing. If the problem is that TA companies don’t have this budget, they should think first on how to get it (or how to take 3 euros out of the first 10 they invoice), but I don’t see that Marketing focus should be lost.

    Nice essay Arjen! Wishing to talk about this more!

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