Critical success factors and challenges for Lean Startup: a systematic literature review

Fabiane Letícia Lizarelli, Alexandre Fonseca Torres, Jiju Antony*, Renan Ribeiro, Willem Salentijn, Marcelo Machado Fernandes, Afonso Teberga Campos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The term Lean Startup (LS) was coined by Eric Ries, and his 2011 book has popularized the concept with organizations, both startups and established organizations, implementing LS. However the empirical grounding is thin and for a long time this subject has been neglected by academia. The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review (SLR) on LS, while highlighting core knowledge and identify gaps. Design/methodology/approach: A SLR was carried out based on the Preferred Reporting for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) protocol of Scopus and Web of Science databases. In total, 45 articles published in journals and conferences over 10 years were collected which revealed a number of LS research gaps. Findings: The SLR revealed the tools and methods associated with LS, most cited pros and cons, reasons that cause LS failure, the challenges that companies face in the implementation of LS, and critical success factors (CSFs) that can support these challenges and minimize the reasons for failure. Practical implications: The findings of the study can be beneficial to practitioners and senior managers in organizations who wish to delve into the journey of LS. The study also discloses challenges and barriers that can hinder the implementation of LS. Originality/value: Academic publications regarding LS are sparse and this SLR is one of the first SLRs to explore both the critical failure factors (CFFs) and the CSFs based on peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-551
Number of pages18
JournalTQM Journal
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Build measure Lean cycle
  • Lean Startup
  • Minimum viable product
  • Systematic literature review


Dive into the research topics of 'Critical success factors and challenges for Lean Startup: a systematic literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this