Sprint 4

Path Finding

This is the last sprint before your final Pivot or Persevere cycle!

This sprint is primarily about driving more validated learning and secondarily about preparing your product architecture if you anticipate that you’ll persevere and go build an MVP.

If you’re part of a program, you’ll also be presenting to your peers about what you did, what worked well, and what didn’t. This is a great opportunity to learn from your fellow participants as well as reflect on how things are going for your team.


This sprint builds on components you’re already prepared in the ‘operations stack’ **L(stack_intro), in particular your validated learning’s and revisions to the Lean Startup-style experiments you’re using to prove or disprove your key assumptions.


If the team has a mentor, they should submit this material to them minimum 3 business days before the sprint end and panel (or mentor) review so their mentor has adequate time to review the details.

The following table breaks these down into roughly time-boxed tasks. The next section on learning materials describes supplemental material you may find helpful.

NOTE: The first set of items here is the same as in the last sprint. However, there’s a new deliverable at the end on formulating the requirements for functional product blocks.

Minimum Items


Approx. Time*


Results from Assumption, MVP and/or Prototype Testing Highly variable You’ve got your full assumption set, experimental design, and a concept for your MVP. In this sprint, your job is to drive to some solid experimental results to validate or invalidate those assumptions (if you haven’t already).Typical results might include:
* Finding that subjects in your target segment consistently mention your target problem scenario or rank it near the top from a set of choices.
* Running a Google AdWords campaign and finding a proposition or proposition with especially high click-through rates.
* Finding high levels of engagement with a particular landing page/site design. This might include low bounce rates and (better) high conversion rates to a sign-up list (if germane).
Revisions: Personas, Problem Scenarios, Assumptions, Stories, Prototypes…. Highly variable Unless you’re in the .05% of startup founders that get their product design and business model exactly right in the first couple of weeks, you should be revising your foundation items based on the validated learning you’ve acquired. Your mentor and/or mentor panel will be asking you:What have you learned?
How did you learn it?
How has your point of view changed?
Functional Blocks 180 min. Before you start building, think about the major functional blocks you need. What off-the-shelf or open source components can you use to minimize the amount of software you have to invest in building for an MVP?See the example in Chapter 4 of ‘Starting a Tech Business’. Make sure you come prepared to the workshop below with a break-down of these components so you can get solid feedback from the mentors.

* These durations will vary based on your experience, type of venture, stage of development, just to name a few of the biggest factors. If you’re within 3x of the approximation for something less than an hour or 2x for something over an hour, don’t sweat. However, if you’re substantially over that then: a) make sure you’re using the templates and have looked at all the resources and/or b) seek out some coaching from your mentor(s).

At General Review

The teams should distill their material in the time-boxed format in the prescribed format: Sprint 3 Presentation **add link. This presentation will answer at a minimum:

What have you learned?
How did you learn it?
How has your point of view changed?

Recap your MVP definition. What are the major functional blocks required for your MVP? What off-the-shelf items can you use to minimize the amount of software you have to build?


Lean Architecture

This workshop is about getting you feedback from experts on how to a) minimize the amount of software you have to build and b) make sure you’re building on a strong, best-practice foundation.

NOTE TO PROGRAM LEADS: If possible, have the teams send their Functional Blocks to the mentor panel in advance (minimum 3 days).



Time (min.)

Materials & Technique

A Stop Building So Much Software: Modern Approaches to Product Development 30 min. SEE SLIDES (COMING SOON)
B(1) Team Presentation: Functional Blocks 10 min See Deliverable above
C(1) Mentor Panel Feedback and recommendations 10 min.

Learning Materials and Templates

Make sure you’ve read and absorbed Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 8 of ‘Starting a Tech Business’. These will help you with your customer discovery and validation work and initial product design. The materials below will help you prepare for actual product development and operation.


Learning Materials & Templates

Building the right software, building it on the right foundation, and not wasting time and money on re-inventing the wheel. Chapter 4 of Starting a Tech Business
Understanding the roles and resources you’ll need to execute- identification, definition, recruitment, and collaboration. Chapter 5 of Starting a Tech Business
Working with a development and operations team using the agile development method- in real life. Chapter 6 of Starting a Tech Business
IF you’re getting ready to service live customers: Process design for scalability and continuous learning. Chapter 7 of Starting a Tech Business.


Be sure all teams post their standup for sprint 4.