Sprint 2

Startup-Sprints-2Where’s this Pony Headed?

Having validated your personas and problem scenarios, you’re now working to formulate and test value propositions that are better enough than your persona’s current alternatives for you to make sales. How do you do that without wasting/running the risk of wasting time and money? Flipping this around- How do you validate your propositions with a minimum of time an effort so you allow yourself multiple shots at success?

Your goals in this sprint are to formulate your value propositions, and then define the key assumptions you need to validate to know those propositions will make for a successful product. You’ll also start creatively testing those assumptions with quick, low cost product proxies, though that’s also the subject of the next two Sprints.


1. Validated Personas

2. Validated Problem Scenarios

See Sprint 1 for notes on these.


Here we’ll focus on value propositions and assumptions, along with some early experimentation: Venture-Design-Process-Startup-Sprints-2 The subsections below list target outputs for this sprint:

1. Working Product Hypothesis

Once you have your value propositions formulated, this is a way to structure them into a testable formulation along with the personas, problem scenarios, and alternatives you validated in the last sprint: Product-Hypothesis You will have read about the product hypothesis in the workshop (Venture Design I) and personas tutorial. While the focus of Sprint 1 was to learn about your personas and their problem scenarios without bias, now it’s time to go to the hoop and test some ideas.

2. Prioritized Set of Assumptions & Experiments to test your Value Hypothesis

lean-value-hypothesisTaking the  product hypothesis as a starting point, what are all the assumptions you need to prove (or disprove) for the product to be successful? How can you efficiently test those with a minimum of time and money? The applicable resources here are the workshop Venture Design II and Lean Startup tutorial. These will walk you through the process of expanding your product hypothesis to a full set of working assumptions.

Sub-Hypothesis Experiment


Your product is better enough than the alternative to make sales (traffic, etc.). You successful execute a (paid?) concierge MVPorYou successfully pre-sell the productor You successfully drive drive sign-up’s online
✔︎ Customers will readily perceive this superiority if you [x] (see above)

3. Working Set of MVP Concepts

Minimum Viable Product is a key concept in the Lean Startup domain- the idea is to create a product proxy that will let you validate demand for your product and/or that your product delivers a value propositions that’s adequately better than your personas’ current alternatives. The ‘P’ is probably necessary, but a little unfortunate: your MVP does NOT need to be actual working product. In fact, you should avoid spending the time and money a working product would require if you possibly can. Why build it if no one wants it. The resources above will walk you through this, including several examples of successful MVP’s.

4. Initial Experimental Results

Stretch goal: Get some results against your experiments in item #2 using your MVP. If you don’t get there, don’t sweat it: that’s where you’ll be focused for the next couple of sprints.

Resources- Workshops

Venture Design II is the applicable workshop here, just the second half, assuming you did the first half on Sprint 1. You’ll learn about the value hypothesis, Lean Startup, and techniques for successful applications.

ONLINE WORKSHOP: VENTURE DESIGN II: ‘ITERATING TO SUCCESS’ The second half of this workshop (after slide 53) will walk you through research and observation. If you didn’t do the first half in Sprint 1, I recommend doing the whole thing.

Venture Design II


Resources- Tutorials, Examples, & Templates

TUTORIAL: LEAN STARTUP This tutorial will take you through the creation of Lean Startup style assumptions.
EXAMPLES: EXAMPLE LEAN STARTUP-STYLE ASSUMPTIONS This tutorial will take you through the creation of Lean Startup style assumptions.
TEMPLATE: LEAN STARTUP-STYLE ASSUMPTIONS This links to a template and example ‘Venture Design Template’. (Download the template as MS Word or copy it to your Google App’s domain.)

For Advisors

Here are a few discussion questions: – How did you learn about the customer? What worked well? What didn’t? – Did it fundamentally change your point of view on the product or venture? Did it change your positioning statement? – How did this affect your point of view on pivotal assumptions? What assumptions did it help prove? Disprove? What new assumptions did you find you needed to lay out for yourself? Did you discard any assumptions as no longer relevant? – Show me the canvas! How did it help you understand the key facets of the business? – Did completing the canvas point to any new assumptions you need to lay out and prove? – Do you need product to prove your disprove your pivotal assumptions? Which ones and why? – If you need the build product, what is your MVP definition and how does it tie to those key assumptions?