What would you do if I told you that the one who knows less of your business is you ? It’s true and you’re too busy doing things to realize that maybe there is something more profitable way to do your job. Do you not believe me?. I will prove it for you.
A regular business (I’m not talking about yours 😉) is planned from top to bottom under certain obvious facts that are illogical to question, such as the product/service is useful for consumers/users or the way we work is the most optimal, or even more logical, if I my business doesn’t prospeer, it will be fixed by working harder .
Let us call these “facts” leap of faith or assumptions, but if they are unquestionable, why are they “assumptions?”
Very simple, because they are not based on reality , they are machinations of the person who implanted the processes or products thinking they were true because they are Logic for that person. The problem is that your customers are not interested in using solutions that sounds cool, they are only interested in solving their problems .
But the person who devised the solution continues to say that the product meets the needs of the customer, I only have one question, did the client or the designer of the product say that, and if the client said it, would he tell us the truth or did it seem easier to lie to us?
If you are in one of the above situations, you urgently need to learn Lean Startup and make experiments that validate all your leap of faith.
What is Lean Startup?
Lean Startup is a methodology/philosophy that seeks to make experiments to generate learning and avoid in the best way all the waste (unnecessary work).
Lean Startup says that it is better to invest little money to validate a theory VS invest a lot of money in a project that may fail, because if the idea was bad, it will save a lot of money and time by knowing that it is not the way and with learning You will be able to iterate until you create a product that really solves the problems or pains of the users/clients.
In order to get the best out of Lean Startup it is important to know the basic principles that are, Leap of faith, MVP, Validated Learning, Feedback Loop and Pivots, knowing this will simplify the work in order to focus on the goal ( your vision ).
Everything, trully everything, is a Leap of Faith
As I said before, an leap of faith is any hypothesis of your business, product, strategy and even the same name and logo that supports your identity.
But there are assumptions to assumptions … There are some hypotheses that are more dangerous because they can validate or invalidate the core business. Imagine that you want to make a pet hotel and you are developing an mobile app for traveling pet owners, your leap of faith is that the owners are willing to let you take care of teir pets.
What if it turns out that the owners are not willing to leave their pets in a hotel? Your business would not make sense, right?
These fundamental lep of faith that, when their false, your business would collapse are called riskier hypotheses and it’s very important to have them validated at all times, because if they are false all the effort you have made so far “would not be worth anything” (until validated learning that we will talk about later).
So, I make my product/service/business and test It on the go. You could do that, but won’t be better if we validate the hypothesis first to know if it is worth so much effort and money to produce something that you’re client won’t buy, to facilitate this you can use the Minimum Viable Products .
Minimum Viable Products to learn more with minimal effort.
A MVP ( Minimum Viable Product ) is the minimum version of your product having enough features to helps you learn more with minimal effort .
There is a belief that says MVP’s are your finished product, but with less functionality, the problem of thinking like this is that if it turns out that it is not what users needed, it will be very difficult to learn from the prototype, in addition to that it would normally results very expensive in time and money .
A minimum viable product can be anything, but it must be as simple as possible and have a learning goal.
The following are some of the examples of MVP ’s that you could develop to validate your riskiest assumptions:
As the name says, it refers to “selling smoke”, selling a product that is not developed and seeing how users react to product conceptualization, it can be as simple as making calls and talking about the product or as complex how to make a video of how the product will work, although the most popular is to make a landing page that will show the product of the same that I will explain below.
It is a very simple and cheap way to validate a fundamental faith assumption is to make a marketing campaign with a website as if the product existed to know if customers are willing to consume it , and in the process you get some leads that you can contact in the future.
Something very useful when making a landing page is to collect emails or phones to be able to ask what are the reasons why you want to consume your product / service.
Service: When planning a technological solution around a service it is common to carry out very extensive , expensive and time – consuming systems to develop and when they are finished developing it usually happens that they begin to have many changes since the hypotheses are rarely validated exactly.
For these cases it is recommended to make MVP’s of service ( Concierge MVP ) in which the service is tested before generating the technology only as a tool to validate and perfect the service. The most famous example is with the company Food on The Table that decided before spending millions of dollars of development to enslave itself in improving the service .
Food On The Table was a service that carried the ingredients for its customers to prepare their food and for several months the directors were working with 1 user who paid them $ 10 USD / month for the service without the use of any technological platform with the aim of get feedback , as soon as they got more customers they already invested in the technology platform.
Wizard of Oz:
The Wizard of Oz MVP’s Wizard of Oz MVP’s are based on manually doing the tasks that the product should do automatically so that it looks like it works perfectly and is the final product.
Users are only interested in the product solving their problems , a very good example is that of Cardmunch which is an application that digitizes business cards and converts them into contacts, its MVP was amazing because it digitized better than any other application in the market , the secret behind the curtain (on the other side of the system) was that there were a lot of people filling information in contacts.
A very good way to validate if there are users who want to buy your product is by doing a crowdfunding campaign ( collaborative funding ) in which they set a goal to know whether or not they will develop the product and in the process generate first sales , a Amazing platform for this is Kickstarter .
The result of the Minimum Viable Products is the learning validated by the experiments in which after formulating a theory ( leap of faith) an experiment ( MVP ) is made and all this through an infinite feedback loop ( feedback loop ).
From Faith to Validated Learning course
With the Assumptions of Faith it is very risky to work, because if it turns out to be incorrect we would be putting a lot of effort and money into things that our clients do not need or want , by doing an MVP we will get a lot of information about what our clients want or need, that information Of great value it is called validated learning .
Validated learning is the measure of how much has been learned. Its characteristic is that it was achieved through experiments with users (an incredible tool to achieve this is User research that are types of MVP’s) and reflect information that was already validated by a user and is much more real than the Faith Assumptions.
With validated learning we can make decisions because it is very close to reality , it may be that the hypothesis was invalidated, validated or any other information relevant to the business, a very good way to keep control of validated learning is through the feedback loop .
The Feedback Loop as the basis for continuous experimentation
Startups generally begin with an idea that has the potential to change the way to solve a problem, the feedback loop (segment of feedback ) consists of segmenting the problems in hypotheses to be validated.
The way to get real information validated by users is through the process of creating, measuring and learning where a prototype is created that generates information to draw conclusions .
Step 1: Create (MVP, Minimum Viable Products)
The first thing to do will be to CREATE an MVP by executing an experiment .
In the early stages it is recommended to avoid functional prototypes and make use of creativity to get the most information with minimum effort .
For MVPs, all the effort focused on generating learning will be called value and the rest will be wasted . Therefore it is important to avoid wasting as much as possible.
Step 2: Measure, information generation
The second step of the feedback loop is MEASURE . For this it is necessary to take note of the reactions of the users using actionable metrics and avoiding vanity metrics.
The objective is to save the information that can help us validate / reject a hypothesis or generate a new hypothesis , during this phase the data generated will not be analyzed, but will only be archived for use in later phases
Step 3: Learn
In the third step LEARN , The information taken in the previous step must be analyzed to know if we are going the right way or we have to make some important change .
If a good experiment (MVP) was made with actionable metrics, it will be easy to divide the resulting information into failures and successes where we must generate a new hypothesis for a new experiment and thus begin the cycle again persevering the successes and removing the failures.
With an IDEA , a same PROTOTYPE (mvp) is created that is launched on the market and what DATA generates to LEARN is measured , depending on the learning the following could be done:
- Adjust the product and restart the cycle
- Have a new idea and restart the cycle
- Pivot and restart the cycle
Itera, itera, itera
The core of Lean Startup is very simple, all you suppose as true is a Faith Assumption , to convert them into Validated Learning creates Minimum Viable Products through the Feedback Loop of Create , Measure and Learn .
It is not enough to work hard and it is convenient to do it intelligently , so by having a culture of experimentation you can focus your efforts better so that you are always at the forefront.