Product Development 101: What we learned at Start-Up School

Lean Model 001

Another large turn-out last Monday evening for Melbourne Lean Start-Up’s monthly event, hosted by Inspire9 and supported by SmartStartCity, Kussowski Brothers, Blue Chilli and AlphaStation.

This month’s theme was “Validated Learning – what to do before you launch your start-up” or as I like to call it, “Product Development 101”.

The evening kicked off with a lightning talk video presentation by Ash Maurya discussing his lean canvas 1-page business model. Well worth investigating before you even start writing a single line of code!

Next up, Tweaky offered some insights on the value of using PPC (Pay Per Click) pre-launch analysis targeting Search Intent (Google) and Demographic Intent (Facebook) to generate interest in your new product.

GetViable followed up with a discussion of the old-age conundrum for any new product or business: “Have you built a solution in search of a problem?” And even if you have correctly identified the problem, is it actually worth solving? The bottom line was, talk to your customers, listen and learn about their problems, then figure out whether they are willing to pay for your solution (and how much).

Then Flippa talked about the value of “observing your customers in the wild” – to gain insights and identify opportunities. Again, talking to and engaging with customers is critical to the product development process.

Finally, Envato presented some models and processes for collaborative design, essentially taking a look at user-centred design within a lean start-up context.

It’s very easy to lose sight of fundamental product development principles in any business start-up, especially for tech-based projects. But what each presenter stressed was the need to do your homework, to apply a coherent and sequential methodology to your new product development, and to adopt a continuous feedback loop to capture market insights and embed customer learning into the process.

To summarise, here is a tried-and-tested Product Development Cycle I have used for many years:

  • Idea
  • Market Research
  • Design Specification
  • Business Case
  • Build
  • Pre-sell
  • Production
  • Launch
  • Evaluation

Repeat ad infinitum.

Disclosure: The author does not have any connection to or commercial relationship with the presenters or sponsors mentioned in this blog. He did manage to grab a couple of free beers.

2 thoughts on “Product Development 101: What we learned at Start-Up School

  1. Pingback: My Top 10 Blogs | Content in Context

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