Lean Startup

In this post we begin our Lean Startup process to create our mobile app Amas. If you haven’t seen our ‘Create a Product’ series before head over to the start and catch up now. In this post we’re going to work through describing our Vision for the Startup. We’ll look at the assumptions we are making at the outset. Our strategy for Amas will evolve from the assumptions and how we intend to test them.

This is Part 2 in the series, to see all the parts check out the full blog category.

Vision

The Vision for our Startup describes the end goal, the future it expects and how the institute will fit into it. Let’s define the Visions for Amas:

Technology plays an ever increasing role in our private lives. We believe that self improvement is an area where technology has immense power for good. We will help people achieve their dreams through the use of Digital Products.

Writing a Vision can appear grandiose but it sets out a clear message of intent. While we move along our strategy and adapt to the things we learn it’s.a clear line in the sand for our aims.

Hypothesis

Before we can build our current strategy we must start to identify our working assumptions. These assumptions form Hypothesis and will inform what we need to do next. Hypothesis come in two flavours: Value and Growth.

Our Value Hypothesis are

  • That people have goals they want to achieve
  • That people struggle to achieve those goals
  • That people will find value in an app to help them achieve their goals

Growth Hypothesis come in three types:

  • Sticky Growth (organic growth and keep more customers than you lose)
  • Viral Growth (word of mouth and the act of using the Product spreads knowledge of it to more customers)
  • Paid Growth (where profits are used to buy ads, run marketing, etc)

Our Growth Hypothesis is currently Viral Growth. People will discover our app when their friends share their progress or they are added to support networks in the app.

Experiments (a.k.a MVPs)

The Lean Startup movement identifies Minimal Viable Products as anything that can gain us Validated Learning. We should be seeking to get as much feedback from real people as possible to understand if our Product is valuable. This feedback should be designed to prove or disprove one or more of our assumptions.

Some examples of Lean Startup MVPs:

  • Marketing smoke test
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Videos
  • Prototypes

We’ve decided to make use of two options: a survey and interviews. We’ve identified our Hypothesis above and we will need to plan our MVPs to get the maximum information from them.

Survey

Using the Value and Growth Hypothesis as a basis we created the survey using a well known tool. Survey Monkey has a great set of features and starts with a free tier of access. The survey has been kept purposefully short to increase the chances of completion. By sharing the survey on our social media channels and groups we will try and gather as many responses as possible.

The survey:

Interviews

Interviews are where we start to move into a Design mindset. We are trying to explore the problem space with people who we hope to help. There are many tools at a Designers disposal to achieve insight but one of the most basic is an Empathy map. While we are building empathy with someone we are fully in a listening mode. We must not try to convince our interviewee that our ideas are correct.

A basic Empathy map:

The Empathy map is fairly self explanatory; we simply work through each area and makes notes about what we learn. We’ve gone ahead and spoken to some people we know that are driven to achieve their goals.

Next steps

We’ve made a tentative but useful start along our journey. With a survey to share and interviews to perform we should start to gain some insight into whether our initial gut assumptions are correct or not. Of course if they prove to be false we may well find a much more interesting line of enquiry to pursue. That type of Pivot decision will come in a later blog post so stay tuned.

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