To kickstart product development, we used Ash Maurya's Lean Canvas approach to align and concentrate our ideas and focus.
Whilst we haven't stuck rigidly to every aspect of the approach he describes, we have adopted his core principles and used what works for us within the constraints we have. I won't go into the details of creating a Lean Canvas, as you can buy the book or find details online, but I will outline the key principles which have really helped us so far.
Focus on a problem – Using a problem based on our own personal experiences and needs, has helped tie the ideas and approaches we're moving toward on something tangible and real-world based.
Define your core customers and your early adopters – We need to know what kind of people will be interested in our product at the start, and who will hopefully help it ascend to market success. A concise, quick definition of these groups helps us concentrate our ideas on those most appropriate to our these target customers.
Write the start of a concise business plan, in a very short space of time – Ash suggests creating your initial canvas in 15 minutes. We found this a bit too quick, and in total it probably took us a couple of hours to complete. But, still in a very short space of time, we had clearly defined the problem/s we're trying to solve, our audience, our key solutions and our unique value proposition (UVP).
Look at the competition - A lot can be learned from looking at the competition, particularly indirect, but highly successful examples. In our case Pocket and Pinterest are both market leading products that we can draw insights from. Market insights, communication, and validation strategy are just a few of the applicable things we learnt much more about looking into these examples.
The war room updates
Lean Canvas is taken from the book Running Lean, Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works, by Ash Maurya.
Photograph by Ivars Krutainis - https://unsplash.com/photos/Ou4zl81n-J0
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