Kickstart your MVP and Discovery journey with a methodical, diverse, and data-driven approach!
Building a minimum viable product (MVP) is an exciting yet challenging process for many entrepreneurs and startups. With so many unknowns and variables, it can be tempting to skip steps and rush to launch. However, taking a systematic, diverse and data-driven approach is vital to ensuring your MVP truly delivers value to users and enables meaningful discovery as you go through.
In this blog post, we will walk through the essential processes for entrepreneurs to embrace. By developing clear hypotheses, executing thorough research, and directly tying insights back to assumptions, you can build an MVP with compelling and unique ideas. Equipped yourself with the proper steps to move forward, saving precious time and resources confidently.
MVPs should test hypotheses, not just simple assumptions. Entrepreneurs often begin building products based on untested assumptions around customer needs, desired features, and market viability. This is risky and inefficient. A methodical, data-driven approach helps uncover meaningful insights to handle your limited resources.
It also enables you to leverage the critical advantage startups have over established companies – agility. As you systematically test ideas on a small scale, you can find the best product-market fit. This is far superior to big, untested launches that leave you stuck if key hypotheses are wrong.
Let's begin the process of this systematic, data-driven approach:
The first step in creating a minimum viable product (MVP) is to clearly identify and articulate your assumptions and hypotheses about your product, target customers, and market. Being as specific as possible will provide the clarity to guide your MVP experiments.
For each major feature or aspect of your product, write out the underlying hypotheses and assumptions in a detailed manner. Some examples of thorough hypothesis statements:
The goal is to ensure every major assumption and hypothesis around your product, customer, and market is clearly stated upfront. This clarity enables you to test each assumption with your MVP experiments effectively.
Of course, thorough research will be an integral part of the discovery process. You can gather information online, conduct market surveys, make discovery calls, or even utilize a user test interview.
Ensure you are well-versed in the precise execution of these procedures:
Conduct market research to size opportunities, analyze competition, identify customer needs, and assess industry trends. Useful resources include:
As soon as you have the data you need, crunch the data you'll find on these resource platforms to find patterns and insights to validate or refute your hypotheses.
You can also run statistically significant market surveys to gather data on customer preferences and pain points. To flawlessly execute this, you must first consider the following factors below.
1. Survey Design
Develop well-structured surveys with meticulous attention to detail. Craft precise and unbiased questions that are designed to elicit meaningful responses. Consider utilizing a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions to capture both qualitative and quantitative data. Ensure that the survey design aligns with your research objectives.
2. Survey Platform Selection
Choose a reputable survey platform like Pollfish, which can provide access to a diverse and broad audience. Ensure that the platform offers features for targeting specific demographics or geographic regions to enhance the representativeness of your sample.
3. Data Collection
Conduct surveys using various data collection methods, such as online questionnaires, telephone interviews, or in-person interviews, depending on your target audience and the nature of your research. Implement measures to validate and verify responses to maintain data integrity.
Aside from conducting online research and market surveys, a more qualitative approach, discovery calls, can be used by having in-depth conversations with potential customers.
Aim for at least 30 calls to identify common themes and feedback. Take detailed notes on each call about their experiences, pain points with current solutions, and reactions to your proposed idea. Look for trends across multiple calls to identify the most vital customer problems to solve.
Follow this process for conducting effective and insightful discovery calls:
This is the most effective form of research you can do to gather information for your MVP. You can develop prototypes and minimal product functionality to test with real users. Observe how they interact with it and where they struggle. Follow up with interviews asking about their experience. Look for areas of confusion and friction.
Testing with end-users gives invaluable feedback for iterating on the product before full development.
1. Establish a Comfortable Atmosphere
Begin the interview by creating a relaxed and friendly environment. Initiate with some casual conversation to put the participant at ease. This helps build rapport and sets a comfortable tone for the interview.
2. Structured Approach with Flexibility
Plan your interview with a structured framework in mind. Prepare a set of core questions to cover your main objectives. However, remain open to deviating from the script when necessary. Valuable insights often emerge from spontaneous follow-up questions that delve deeper into the participant's responses.
3. Avoid Leading Questions
Be cautious about phrasing questions that might lead participants to specific answers. Instead of asking, "What did you like about the feature?" which assumes a positive sentiment, opt for neutral, open-ended questions like, "What are your thoughts on the feature?" This approach encourages honest and unbiased responses.
Discovery is more than just a one-and-done process. As you build initial functionality, continue looping through hypothesis testing and iteration. Stay nimble; be willing to throw out features not aligning with a validated hypothesis and avoid feature creep or over-engineering your MVP.
The final step is to reject or validate each hypothesis based on your research findings and data. Avoid operating based just on hunches or assumptions. Let the insights uncovered from your rigorous hypothesis testing inform your product development and go-to-market strategy.
For hypotheses that were validated, this signals you are on the right track. Double down and continue building features, messaging, and targeting that align with the proven assumptions.
Meanwhile, if specific hypotheses were invalidated, quickly adapt. Pivot your approach to align with what users and data indicate they need or respond to. Continuing down a path that contradicts your findings is a recipe for building something no one wants.
Embracing a methodical, data-driven approach is necessary when building your MVP to enable meaningful discovery. You should develop clear hypotheses around your customers, market, and product. This ensures that you have a straightforward direction to follow.
You must also initiate rigorous research across multiple methods to test assumptions, including discovery calls. Finally, reject or validate hypotheses based on findings to steer your product roadmap and strategy.
At Lunas, we recommend learning and applying this methodical, diverse, and data-driven approach for meaningful discovery. This approach not only saves time and resources but also helps in making informed decisions that can result in successful product launches. By taking a systematic approach, you can identify potential roadblocks and address them early in the process, ultimately leading to a more efficient and effective product launch.
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