Running Startup Experiments

    One of the critical success factors for Startups is ability of the founding team to run quick experiments. The more adept a team is in running experiments the faster they are in iterating.

    Experiments could be for Product Features or Markets. However, the goal of all experiments is to help define the problem statement. The following is a simple template to Plan, Run, Record and Manage experiments in a startup.

    1. Start with a guess or  a hypothesis which is of the format: ____<Potential User>_________ needs  ____<benefit>__ because | however _____________________________________

    For example,

    1.1. HR Managers need qualified resumes because it saves them time and cost.
    or
    1.2.Single moms need a hyper local social network to help them manage their job and families.

    2. The next step should be to reach out to Potential Users and bounce the idea off them. Let the discussion be unstructured however record what the potential users have to say. Make a note of their wishes and needs and record any deviation form your assumption.

    There is a trade-off between the number of users you reach out to and time. One approach I have seen working is setting up targets and time frame. Set the targets based on the opportunity cost of the decision.

    3.  Next step is to articulate the opportunities using the template from Step 1:

    ____<Potential User>_________ needs  ____<benefit>__ because | however _____________________________________

    For example,

    3.1. HR Managers need qualified resumes because it saves them time and cost however they are willing to pay only when they are successful in hiring a candidate.
    or
    3.2.Single moms need a hyper local social network however Facebook does a decent job.

    4. Once you have the opportunities articulated, the next step is drafting the Problem Statement from these opportunities. Some factors to consider  at this stage include market size, time to implement, is the feature ‘nice to have’ or is the customer willing to pay (additional) for the feature? and A/B Testing.

    A startup is defined by the experiments it makes and I hope this framework and template brings agility to the experiments.

    Credit: This post is inspired by The Lean Startup: 

     

     

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