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Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
     
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Experimentation Driven Decision Making Workshop

In the last couple of months, I’ve got several requests from top-notch product companies in India, asking me to facilitate a hands-on workshop on decision making using Lean-Startup’s hypothesis validation techniques for their Executive and Senior Management. I’m thrilled to know that companies are seriously exploring these options.

Following is a 1-Day workshop which I’ve successfully ran a few times:

Experimentation Driven Decision Making Workshop

Large number of products/services fail today, not because they cannot be built and delivered, but because the entrepreneurs building those products/services are disconnected from the people consuming them. This disconnect, leads to early assumptions about consumer’s behavior and motivations. To one’s surprise, these decisions can turn out to be based on stupid (read as: deadly and risky) assumptions.

Traditionally, entrepreneurs believed that the only way to test their product/service hypothesis was to build the best product/service in that category, launch it, and then observe user behavior. And of course the big bucks spent on marketing campaigns. Surprise! Surprise! This can be a very time consuming & expensive process; not to mention the huge opportunity cost.

Learn Measure Build Cycle

(src: Kent Beck)

Luckily today, we know that many entrepreneurs are using Lean-Startup methodology’s Customer Development practices to help them make important product/service decisions (cheaply) based on Validated Learning.

This workshop will give you a hands-on experience to formulate and quickly test out your value and growth hypothesis.

Process/Mechanics

This is a group activity and the participants have to work in small groups.

In the first one hour of the workshop, each group has to come up a product/service idea, which they believe will really succeed. Then they craft out the elevator pitch about the product/service and put together a basic business model. Post that, the group has to clearly highlight what are their value and growth hypothesis.

The rest of the workshop is dedicated to the participants trying to validate their hypothesis. They can use phone and/or Internet to do their research and validation. The best results, of course, are got when the participants meet real people face-to-face to validate your hypothesis. I’ve seen participants wait outside restaurants, cafes, health-clubs, malls, etc. to run their tests. Some participants also get really creative and build some paper prototypes or fake products to validate their hypothesis. Using a fake credit card swiping machine to see if people will really pay is one of my favorite validation techniques so far.

It always amazes me how creative people can get during this process. Also it’s very fulfilling to see the “Aha moment” on the participant’s face. I can’t describe in words, the shocked look on their faces, when they spend the day validating their hypothesis and discover various hidden assumptions about their target user’s behavior.

Learning Outcome

  • Learn how to decide which assumptions you MUST absolutely test.
  • Understand why just marketing metrics won’t help you make a better product/service.
  • Master the art of leveraging the Minimum Viable Product to create maximum validated learning for minimum cost.
  • Learn how to systematically decide when to Pivot to a new strategy.

Workshop style

Interactive dialogues, case studies, hands-on group activities, and on-field exercise.


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