Now that you’ve built an MVP and started testing with live customers, you will need learn rapidly from each test. The objective is to learn and iterate as quickly as possible through a Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop, using customer reactions to modify your hypotheses and MVP after each round of tests.
Build-Measure-Learn is an iterative learning framework popularized in The Lean Startup.
“Build” means having something you can test with users. This can be a product, a mockup, a wireframe; this is your MVP.
“Measure” can be quantitative via analytics, but also doesn’t have to be overly quantitative. Pay attention to everything you observe during tests.
“Learn” is what you are learning from each test, and how you modify your hypotheses.
Repeat the process by feeding those learnings and insights back into a refined hypothesis, and moving the MVP testing along through the process again.
After each round of tests, determine if it’s necessary to iterate, pivot, or persevere, as defined by David Cummings:
Iterate: A minor change of the current product or business model in an attempt to capitalize on a closely related market opportunity.
Pivot: A wholesale change of the current business model in an attempt to capitalize on a different market opportunity.
Persevere: Your experiments and interviews validate your hypotheses. These are the “green lights” signaling you to move forward with the current model.
6.2 Keep in mind...
- Most successful companies go through multiple pivots to find PMF.
- Try not to fall in love with your own ideas or fall in love with the problem.
- You may need to try dramatically different ways to solve the core problem, or focus on completely different target personas.
- Time and resources are best spent with wildly different hypotheses, instead of burning through the runway on a hypothesis that hasn't been validated.
The Pivot Pyramid by 500 Startups is a visual guideline that’s a useful guide to changes and pivots. The objective is to increase the pace of experimentation at the top layers of the pyramid, as changes here don’t require changes to things below. In fact, changes at the bottom - the target customer, or the problem to solve - won’t be frequent.
Changes in the pivot pyramid should change growth, but don’t need any significant change in your product or technology. These are growth tactics.
Tech is just a means to build your solution. Even if your product resonates with customers, your technology may be holding back growth and retention.
You've identified problems that matter, now you have to design a compelling product for the target customers.
Maybe you have the right customer, but need to focus on a different problem. If you have the customer and problem right, you have a market.
Customers are the foundation. The problems you solve, the solution, the technology, all depends on the customer. You can change the customer, but you need to reevaluate everything else when you do.