Lean Launch Strategy Tips for your App Idea

William Harvey
3 min readFeb 3, 2017


Launching Lean is the most exciting of all app launch options. The term “Lean” is widely used in startup jargon meaning to build quickly, measure success, learn what changes are needed, and repeat. In other words, Release Quickly and Release Often. This is also an adaptation to the commonly used “Agile” development process.

The most effective way to avoid burn-out and bootstrap your budget is to launch quickly. You’ll need a team dedicated to work closely together, with the common goal to achieve a lot within a short amount of time. In order to achieve a lean launch, you need to cut your app’s feature-set down, so that you are only launching (and then testing) the meat of the app. Choose one operating system (iOS or Android), one screen type (Phone or Tablet). Spend minimal time on research, limit your design time to only a few hours per screen. Limit the amount of animations to only a few key areas, such as the splash screen, or the most important action button of the app.

As the designs are being drawn out, your development team should already have started on the basic framework of the app. Developers should divide features into sub-tasks that will yield a full deliverable feature within a time limit of one week, called “Weekly Sprints”. Simultaneously, testers should be testing each sub-task as they are handed in throughout the week. So whatever has been finished after one week, should be tested and ready for delivery, and can be released to the public for immediate feedback.

Lets look at a quick example. Say the feature for this week is to take a picture. Your sub-tasks will be,

  • Display a Take Picture button on the home page,
  • Access Camera,
  • Display camera options while displaying live shot,
  • Save picture to disk,
  • Display photo in viewing screen,
  • and Display options to save or discard picture.

Perhaps one of these sub-tasks will put your total dev time over a week, now its up to you to decide which sub-task to remove and postpone until the next week’s sprint. Just make sure your feature can be released as a fully functioning feature, so for this example, you may need to skip the Save/Discard options task until next week, and simply save the photo automatically.

The hardest part is devoting your team to launch and release within that week. This strategy is not for perfectionists, but will help perfectionists get over their hurdle of waisting time attempting to perfect something you can easily fix next week during the next release.

Once you begin to receive feedback from customers, you can begin to measure the success, and create a list of lessons learned. Then use that list to decide which modifications and additions will make it into the next week’s sprint. Then repeat until you have a fully featured, tried & tested application. …Actually to be honest, you will never stop repeating, this process will go on forever. :)

Costs for a lean launch strategy will vary depending on the size of the team and the budget you have to cover each week. A team of 1 designer, 1 developer, 1 part time tester can average $5,000 per week.

For more App Launch Strategies see my main blog, Five Options for getting from App Idea to MVP.

If you have found any of this info helpful, please feel free to comment and let me know how I have helped or how I can improve. Let me know how your app progress is going. Or if you’d like to brainstorm about your app idea, shoot me an email. And lastly, all of the options I provide above are available through my design services at williamharveydesigns.com



William Harvey

William is a product designer, specializing in audio and entertainment application design.