Define the Value Proposition
The next critical question we ask is about the competitive landscape. Does a product exist that already solves the same problem we’ve defined? If we identified a problem that currently has no solutions out there, we lucked out!
If there are some other existing solutions, however, the next step is to figure out what the new product can do better than the current solutions. Differentiators will be a critical piece of defining the MMP feature set.
Questions to ask here include:
- Do the existing solutions only solve the problem for certain types of users? If yes, we should go more in-depth to define which segment of users applies to our product idea.
- Are the current solutions to the problem lacking in some way and can the new product provide some additional value?
Here’s a common simple template for clearly stating the value proposition:
For (target user)
who (statement of the need or opportunity)
our (product/service name) is (product category)
that (statement of benefit).
Unlike (existing alternatives),
our product (does something better/new).
Now that the value proposition is clear, it’s time to list all the assumptions made so far. (An assumption is simply something that we’ve assumed to be true.) We need to identify the assumptions that have already been validated either by earlier MVP experiments, user interviews, or publicly available data.
Then, we identify the assumptions that still need to be validated, e.g. “our product is better than X because of Y”.
Find the Shortest Path to Validate Assumptions
With the problem statement, value proposition, and assumptions in hand, we come up with a list of features. We often use a Needs/Wants/Desires exercise to prioritize feature development, sorting them into “must-have” and “nice-to-have” buckets.
Our goal is to go to market as fast as possible — hence the word “minimum” in MMP — so the feature set should be kept as lean as possible. This is where the list of assumptions comes in handy. Any feature that is necessary to prove any of our critical assumptions is classified as a Need.
Now that we’ve aligned on the solution we’re building, who we’re building it for, and what we have to have in our MMP, it’s time to talk about the quickest way to reach our goal.
Our roadmapping process allows us to identify scope, set budget parameters, track progress and story points, and prioritize. We determine the number of releases needed to arrive at your MMP, with the goal of delivering a usable product in every release.
We track all of this using a project management tool called Jira, focusing first on the main value-add features so that if things change down the road, the most critical parts of the project are less impacted.
This post provides just a taste of what goes into building, launching, and managing a product successfully, but it all comes down to having a clear product vision, a strong value proposition, and consistently challenging and validating assumptions.
To learn more about how we work — from laying the foundation to launch and beyond — check out our process outline here.