[Book review] Startup Science - Problem Solution Fit

[Book review] Startup Science - Problem Solution Fit

The past blogs are here. These will help you understand better if you read them below first.
[Book review] Startup Science - What is Startup Science?
[Book review] Startup Science - Idea Verification
[Book review] Startup Science - Customer Problem Fit

This blog explains about Problem- Solution-Fit. The outputs through this step are:
  1. Make UX blueprint
  2. Build prototype
  3. Product interview

We have verified assuming customers have issues in Customer-problem-fit. In this phase, we verify what kind of solution we should provide for issues clarified in Customer-problem-fit.
  • Make solution hypothesis (prototype) to resolve issues
  • Verify if it seems possible to resolve issues or not through prototype
  • Raise prototype based on feedback from customers
  • Fix founders gradually


Make UX blueprint based on verified solutions

List up required features

1. Determine issues/pains on the customer story you made
Check issues/pains on the customer story you made


2. Put issues/pains on Kanban board
Put issues/pains on Kanban board


3. Consider of "What kind of values we propose" or "What kind of solutions we provide" to resolve issues
Consider of "What kind of values we propose" or "What kind of solutions we provide" to resolve issues
"The value proposition" is...
  1. Value as usefulness: Is it useful? Is there a profit?
  2. A value giving to inner feeling: Fulfill the approval desire.
  3. Value to increase the sustainability of a whole society: Contribute to the society or the environment.

4. Brainstorming the candidates of features that compose solutions
Brainstorming the candidates of features that compose solutions

5. Put solutions and feature candidates on "Backlog features" of Kanban board
Put solutions and feature candidates on "Backlog features" of Kanban board

6. Arrange the customer interview and ask "What is a magical lamp for you"?

Magical lamp interview:
  1. If you can do "anything" with a magical lamp, what do you want to do in order to complete your [tasks and operations]?
  2. What feature should be included in the magical lamp?
  3. Have you found a solution which is the closest to the magical lamp?
  4. (If you have) Why don't you use it?
  5. What's the main reason why you can't use this solution actually?
  6. How much do you think you save resources such as time and labor if you use the magical lamp?
  7. How much can you ensure the budget for the magical lamp?
  8. Do you have the image of a product that you will be impressed?
  9. [Closing] So, when we build the prototype of [the magical lamp product], can we meet and ask some?
Then check:
  1. How did a customer express [the magical lamp]?
  2. How did a customer express features included in the magical lamp?
  3. Is it possible to realize [the magical lamp] technically?
  4. If we can build [the magical lamp], is there any barrier (cost, maintenance, learning curve and so on) that may prevent a customer from using or buying?
  5. This [magical lamp] will be used to fit their daily work or living?
  6. If a customer doesn't use it, what can be the main reason?
But notice:
Do NOT induce them to get the answers you want to hear.


7. Prioritise the features and move high priority features to the right (Solution 
interview area).
Prioritise the features and move high priority features to the right
Based on the interviews, prioritize feature candidates and list up only required ones


8. We can add more features if we discover some necessary features through a solution interview.
We can add more features if we discover some necessary features through a solution interview

Add required features you found through solution interviews


Make an elevator pitch

To make it clear, point consciousness to a customer and grasp the core. The purpose to make an elevator pitch in this phase is to look toward customers and determine the core of a product.

One of the templates of an elevator pitch

We would like to solve <problems> of <customer>.
<Product name> is a product provides <the main benefit with reasonable and compelling reason> to customers.
This product has <a differentiation factor> unlike <the main competitors>.
Analogy: "We are the xxx of xxx industry"

Make the prototype plan based on features that you’ve listed up.


Make UX blueprint

Then make the UX blueprint from the viewpoint of customers instead of a solution.

1. Group the listed features and contents using Card sort method
  • Prepare one set of cards (stickers)
  • Write down one function or one part to list up or to organize on each card with simple wordings (use 20 - 40 cards)
  • Group them with thinking of which and which should be displayed on the same screen
  • Name optimally for each group
  • Decide the hierarchy of these groups and design layout or UX

2. Structure grouped features in the viewpoint of customers

3. Clarify functions and display contents for each page

4. Design screen transition

5. Confirm vertical parts (UX to be able to resolve issues)
Design screen transition


6. Confirm horizontal parts so that we can transit from the top page
Confirm horizontal parts so that we can transit from the top page


7. Assume UX before using, when using, after using, and whole using time
Assume UX before using, when using, after using, and whole using time


When we design the prototype, the important point is to provide "the story" including the context instead of producing "a thing".

Then you repeat this cycle to make the proposals of prototype until you can be convinced.


Build prototype based on UX design

1. Make Paper prototype using the sticker or something
Make Paper prototype using the sticker or something


2. Make Tool prototype (wireframe/interactive mock)
  • No need beautiful design but focus on minimum UI/UX design
  • Research similar products with tractions and investigate their UX

Checkpoints when making a prototype

  • Easy to use intuitively and anybody can use it without users manual?
  • Priority of functions is clear?
  • Is the design consistent and interactive continuously?
  • Is reversibility guaranteed? (Should not be one way)
After making a tool prototype, move a card on Kanban.
After making a tool prototype, move a card on Kanban

Useful tools for prototyping




Let's go to product interviews taking your prototype!

Preparation

  • Arrange the interviews with the persons who you had a problem interview and fulfill the condition to be an early adopter.
  • Confirm the context and story that you want to provide to customers.

Then interview to know what users think

What to ask showing your prototype

  • What do you think this is for?
  • How do you interpret the string XXX?
  • What do you think the button XXX is for?
  • What do you do next after this action?
  • After clicking XXX button, it behaved as you expected?
  • If it didn't, how did you expect it behaves?
  • If you use this kind of product in your company, is there any cost that you necessarily pay such as buying new things, training and so on?

What to check when a product interview

  • You got the reaction that they said: "I need this right now!"?
  • Is there anything that they were suffered from when using your prototype?
  • Did you languageized what you expect in the expecting UX, what you want them to follow in the episode UX and what kind of experience you want to provide through the entire interaction of your product?

Then update Kanban
Then update Kanban


If customers said "we don't need it", make sure the reason why they felt so.
Startups need to keep learning from not only successful cases but also failure cases.


Exit conditions of Problem-Solution-Fit 

  • Why does the customer use your solution? Have you languageized the reason clearly (= the customer will pay the money for your solution)?
  • Have you proved the existence of the problem with the pain?
  • Have you listed up the solutions with the minimum required features in order to resolve the problem?
  • Have you clarified the information (Persona and Customer story) of the customer who will use the solution?

In this blog, I described Problem-Solution-Fit. In the next blog, I describe the next phase, Product-Market-Fit phase. See you next!
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About Tomohide Kakeya

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