Inspired by Lean Startup and Agile Development methodologies, Lean UX (Lean User Experience) is the practice of bringing “the true nature of [your] work to life faster” – of minimizing the distance between your idea and the final design.
Instead of adhering to the waterfall process that’s common in ux design workflows (concept, validate, build, test, learn, iterate), Lean UX is all about testing and reworking prototypes (build, measure, learn, repeat) until you come to the final version.
As you can see, there’s not much room for documentation, deliverables or departments in Lean UX – it’s not uncommon for teams to go from whiteboard to initial design in a matter of weeks, if not days. And while the thought of abandoning the tried and true waterfall makes some of us cringe, look at it this way: Lean UX minimizes time spent heading down the wrong path. All that time that was once dedicated to creating documentation and deliverables can now be put towards, well, design : )
This process, however, is not for everyone. Lean UX is best suited for sites and applications with a high level of interaction or complex user flows, and fluid teams. So if you have such a project, and need to iterate quickly, then Lean UX might be for you.