Build the Right Thing – De-risk your Products with Experiments

7th July 2015

Andrea Darabos

Enterprise Lean Startup | Growth | Innovation | Agile Coach

Founder of Lean Advantage

Are you building the right product?

Well, probably, if you have evidence to answer the following questions with a big YES:

  1. Are target customers interested in solving this specific problem / achieving a wanted outcome?
  2. Are target customers willing to pay for a solution?
  3. Do you have a scalable business model to turn this solution into a profitable business?

One way to go about new product development is to collect your assumptions about who your target customers are, what they need and start drafting the features of your product. The temptation here is to get started immediately and to build it! Well, learning about customers from a released product is probably the slowest and most expensive way to learn about customers. According to Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean, 66% of startups drastically change their initial product idea and business model.

A startup – whether it is external or inside your company – is designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. How fast you can learn and reduce your assumptions is the most important at this stage. So can we learn fast, without building the product?

Building a Minimum Viable Product MVP is often confused as launching an early version of your final product. (It is probably the term “product” that is misleading here, so let’s improve the terminology). In reality, what we need is to do a series of Minimum Viable Experiments MVEs – cheap tests designed to help us learn about the problem, the customer and potential way forward. By being explicit about your assumptions, running quick, cheap experiments you can get real customer feedback, fast.

In our upcoming talk on Agile Tour London 2015, we will look at example stories and practices, how you can de-risk your product assumptions with fast, cheap experiments. So as a product manager, you will have more confidence in your roadmap, building only features that customers want. As a business investor, you will have the risk gradually reduced in your investment and get real customer feedback. As a product development team, you will have more fun building and learning at the same time.

In the meanwhile, if you have any questions, get in touch at hello at leanadvantage.co.uk !

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