A few days ago my youngest daughter, Alice, learnt a new trick: She put her tongue between her closed lips, and strongly breathed out. This created a special sound. When she showed this to me, it made me laugh. And not just: after a couple of times she did that at me, I found myself mimicking her.
When Alice saw the effect of her new trick on me, she tried it on my wife. This worked again – my wife laughed too.
Alice is 2.5 years old and she is a fast learner. She went on trying and perfecting the trick with other family members, and shortly added it to her toolset of buttons making people around her laugh and cooperate.
I am always fascinated watching Alice learning new tricks. Alice uses some of the steps reminding the Product-Market Fit Framework.
The steps are almost obvious:
- Trick – what is this new trick you want to show off?
- Experiment – try applying this to people around
- Learning – carefully watch the results. Improve and try again.
- Validation – if the trick is not getting you where you want to be, consider trying another one.
Below are the 7 steps of the product-market fit methodology.
STEP 1 – DREAM
What will change in the world? What will your role be? What’s your long-term goal?
STEP 2 – CONCEPT
Need – What need are you going to solve? Who has the need? What is the context in which the need manifests?
Solution – What is your unique value proposition? How do you do it? What values will your customers gain?
Go-to-Market – How will you reach your audience? What’s your growth strategy?
Monetization – How will you generate income?
STEP 3 – ACTIONABLE PLAN
Plan your activity: What are your short, mid, long term goals (learning, customers, traction)? What actions are need to reach your goals (Learning, Product, Go to Market)? Who do you need on your team to achieve your objectives? What other resources are required?
STEP 4 – ASSESSMENTS
What do you need to know to predict success? Translate Assessments into Metrics – KPI (Key Performance Indicators). What are target values for your KPI?
STEP 5 – EXPERIMENT
Set up the minimal possible environment to measure KPI. Run your experiment. Gather live actionable data.
STEP 6 – LEARNING
Analyze actual results compared to the KPI goals you defined. Is there an improvement over time? Focus your efforts on parts with highest risks – there, where you see largest gaps between the planned metrics and actual results.
NOW IT IS TIME TO GO BACK TO STEP 2 (Concept) – modify the need, solution, go-to-market and monetization if needed… and start the next cycle.
STEP 7 – PIVOT?
This step is probably the most difficult. It is being missed by many founders I’ve met. It requires a great aspiration, courage, and objectivity.
Sometimes we are so busy with convincing the entire world to believe in our concept, that we forget to genuinely question it from time to time.
This leads many startups to get stuck in the valley of the living dead.
Every few weeks you must look how your metrics are evolving over time.
Be very frank with yourself!
If the metrics are not converging to your KPI goals – ask why! Then, either find a new approach, or pivot.
This framework has assisted me and many companies I worked with.
Following these steps many teams discovered faster ways to build products that gain significant traction. Some companies discovered breakthroughs in their business models. For some this framework was the driver to implement new work methodologies (Scrum, A/B testing, Continuous Deployment, etc.)
The framework is designed to be flexible, and is recommended to be used as a guideline. If you find it useful, find the best way to adjust it to your company, your product, your dream.
I will be very happy to hear your thoughts, feedback and ideas.
If you find this framework helpful, please share how you used it.