Don’t Pollute Your Problem Space with the Solution Space!
By GrowthX Academy student, Anna Canicosa
I first heard these words from Dan Olsen at a GrowthX Academy event, “A Playbook for Achieving Product-Market Fit” while he presented the Product-Market Fit Pyramid with the Lean Product Process. We, as humans, have a natural tendency to jump into a solution without even fully understanding what the problem is first. This is no different from the startup space.
To create Product-Market Fit, Dan expresses the importance of designing a product. From a UX designer perspective, I can clearly see how the Product-Market Fit Pyramid has a direct correlation to the UX design process.
Let’s start with the Target Customers – the base foundation. The fundamental of every UX Designer is knowing who the users are. What is their demographic profile? What are their likes and dislikes? A designer can then determine the Underserved Needs by conducting a discovery research. This is one of the hardest parts of the design process because it requires digging in deep to uncover the user’s core motivations and pain points. If the user research is done right and done well, we will have a solid understanding of who our targeted users are and what are their common needs. The key learnings of our research will drive the product design.
Next, how do we design a product to meet our users’ needs that are better and different than what is currently available in the market? We paper sketch. We create to ideate! We continue to hand sketch until we can clearly define the Value Proposition of our designed product. The more the people, the more the ideas, the more we can collaborate in creating a list of Feature Sets. What are the functionalities that will make our customer lives better? More importantly, what is our MVP, Minimal Viable Product?
We can then proceed forward onto the solution space. In UX, we shift from paper sketches to wireframes to interactive prototypes to usability testing. We validate with our target users. We reiterate. Each evaluative research creates an opportunity to learn about the validity of our hypothesis.
We continue to design, deliver, test, and learn until we have gathered enough data to validate our designed is product-market fit.
So don’t pollute your problem space with the solution space! First, determine if there is a product-market fit. Following a design process will help you know your target customers, their pain points. It will also allow creative solutions to occur through a quick iterative process that validates the hypothesis.