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The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback



The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

Dan Olsen

ISBN: 978-1-118-96096-7 May 2015 336 Pages

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The missing manual on how to apply Lean Startup to build products that customers love

The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide to building products that customers love. Whether you work at a startup or a large, established company, we all know that building great products is hard. Most new products fail. This book helps improve your chances of building successful products through clear, step-by-step guidance and advice.

The Lean Startup movement has contributed new and valuable ideas about product development and has generated lots of excitement. However, many companies have yet to successfully adopt Lean thinking. Despite their enthusiasm and familiarity with the high-level concepts, many teams run into challenges trying to adopt Lean because they feel like they lack specific guidance on what exactly they should be doing.

If you are interested in Lean Startup principles and want to apply them to develop winning products, this book is for you. This book describes the Lean Product Process: a repeatable, easy-to-follow methodology for iterating your way to product-market fit. It walks you through how to:

  • Determine your target customers
  • Identify underserved customer needs
  • Create a winning product strategy
  • Decide on your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Design your MVP prototype
  • Test your MVP with customers
  • Iterate rapidly to achieve product-market fit

This book was written by entrepreneur and Lean product expert Dan Olsen whose experience spans product management, UX design, coding, analytics, and marketing across a variety of products. As a hands-on consultant, he refined and applied the advice in this book as he helped many companies improve their product process and build great products. His clients include Facebook, Box, Hightail, Epocrates, and Medallia.

Entrepreneurs, executives, product managers, designers, developers, marketers, analysts and anyone who is passionate about building great products will find The Lean Product Playbook an indispensable, hands-on resource.

Introduction: Why Products Fail and How Lean Changes the Game xvii

PART I Core Concepts

Chapter 1 Achieving Product-Market Fit with the Lean Product Process 3

What Is Product-Market Fit? 3

The Product-Market Fit Pyramid 4

Quicken: from #47 to #1 7

The Lean Product Process 8

Chapter 2 Problem Space versus Solution Space 13

The Space Pen 13

Problems Define Markets 15

The What and the How 16

Outside-In Product Development 16

Should You Listen to Customers? 17

A Tale of Two Apple Features 18

Using the Solution Space to Discover the Problem Space 20

PART II The Lean Product Process

Chapter 3 Determine Your Target Customer (Step 1) 25

Fishing for Customers 25

How to Segment Your Target Market 26

Users versus Buyers 28

Technology Adoption Life Cycle 29

Personas 30

Chapter 4 Identify Underserved Customer Needs (Step 2) 37

A Customer Need by Any Other Name 37

Customer Needs Example: TurboTax 38

Customer Discovery Interviews 40

Customer Benefit Ladders 41

Hierarchies of Needs 43

The Importance versus Satisfaction Framework 45

Related Frameworks 56

Visualizing Customer Value 58

The Kano Model 63

Putting the Frameworks to Use 66

Chapter 5 Define Your Value Proposition (Step 3) 67

Strategy Means Saying “No” 68

Value Propositions for Search Engines 68

Not So Cuil 71

Building Your Product Value Proposition 72

Skating to Where the Puck Will Be 75

The Flip Video Camera 75

Predicting the Future with Value Propositions 75

Chapter 6 Specify Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Feature Set (Step 4) 77

User Stories: Features with Benefits 78

Breaking Features Down 79

Smaller Batch Sizes Are Better 79

Scoping with Story Points 80

Using Return on Investment to Prioritize 80

Deciding on Your MVP Candidate 85

Chapter 7 Create Your MVP Prototype (Step 5) 89

What Is (and Isn’t) an MVP? 89

MVP Tests 90

The Matrix of MVP Tests 92

Qualitative Marketing MVP Tests 93

Quantitative Marketing MVP Tests 94

Qualitative Product MVP Tests 99

Quantitative Product MVP Tests 108

Chapter 8 Apply the Principles of Great UX Design 111

What Makes a Great UX? 111

The UX Design Iceberg 116

Conceptual Design 117

Information Architecture 120

Interaction Design 123

Visual Design 129

Design Principles 135

Copy Is Also Part of UX Design 140

The A-Team 140

UX Is in the Eye of the Beholder 141

Chapter 9 Test Your MVP with Customers (Step 6) 143

How Many Customers Should I Test With? 144

In-Person, Remote, and Unmoderated User Testing 145

How to Recruit Customers in Your Target Market 148

User Testing at Intuit 152

Ramen User Testing 153

How to Structure the User Test 155

How to Ask Good Questions 156

Ask Open versus Closed Questions 158

I Feel Your Pain 159

Wrapping Up the User Test 160

How to Capture and Synthesize User Feedback 161

Usability versus Product-Market Fit 163

Chapter 10 Iterate and Pivot to Improve Product-Market Fit 167

The Build-Measure-Learn Loop 167

The Hypothesize-Design-Test-Learn Loop 168

Iterative User Testing 170

Persevere or Pivot? 175

Chapter 11 An End-to-End Lean Product Case Study 181 181

Step 1: Determine Your Target Customers 182

Step 2: Identify Underserved Needs 182

Step 3: Define Your Value Proposition 183

Step 4: Specify Your MVP Feature Set 185

Step 5: Create Your MVP Prototype 187

Step 6: Test Your MVP with Customers 188

Iterate and Pivot to Improve Product-Market Fit 193

Reflections 197

PART III Building and Optimizing Your Product

Chapter 12 Build Your Product Using Agile Development 201

Agile Development 201

Scrum 205

Kanban 211

Picking the Right Agile Methodology 216

Succeeding with Agile 218

Quality Assurance 222

Test-Driven Development 225

Continuous Integration 226

Continuous Deployment 227

Chapter 13 Measure Your Key Metrics 229

Analytics versus Other Learning Methods 229

Oprah versus Spock 231

User Interviews 231

Usability Testing 232

Surveys 232

Analytics and A/B Testing 235

Analytics Frameworks 236

Identify the Metric That Matters Most 240

Retention Rate 242

The Equation of Your Business 249

Achieving Profitability 255

Chapter 14 Use Analytics to Optimize Your Product and Business 259

The Lean Product Analytics Process 259

A Lean Product Analytics Case Study: Friendster 263

Optimization with A/B Testing 272

Chapter 15 Conclusion 277

Acknowledgments 283

References 285

Resources 287

Index 291

About the Author 309