Venture Design Process

The Venture Design process helps you know where to focus. It offers a systematic execution of continuous design and delivery that helps you focus on the right things at the right time, leveraging the best of what’s out there in modern practices like design thinking and Lean Startup.

Managing with Agile

Create great agile use stories and use them to drive better collaboration in your team.

Business Model Generation
Want to define your business model and engage with collaborators.

Focus: IT
Create better deployments with a clear process and my set of foundation skills.

Figures vary, but popular estimates but the portion of features actually used at something like 20%, the success rate of IT projects at around 20-30%, and the number of new products that succeed at around 10%. The Venture Design process also allows you to work backward, ‘debugging’ products and projects that don’t go according to plan. The material is organized by step into tutorials, examples, and templates. Most users review the tutorials and examples, then use the templates to apply the techniques to their venture. You’ll also find workshops you can run with your team.

venture design in reverse

venture design


I recommend starting here. If you don’t have a well articulated understanding of your customer (or user), everything else you do is sitting on a shaky foundation. It’s also the quickest way to improve the quality of your idea or make an informed pivot to an even better idea.WHAT? Humanized descriptions of your customer.
WHEN? Whenever you talk how to create product or promotion.
WHY? Avoid creating stuff for a customer that doesn’t exist.

venture design


Problem Scenarios are where you identify specific objectives for your product (if you’re familiar with ‘jobs to be done’, it’s the same basic idea). They may be tasks, habits, or desires that you’ll deliver against. These should be real and observable, hence the emphasis on ‘alternatives’: if these problem scenarios exist, the customer is doing something about them now. It’s important you understand those alternatives- your proposition will need to be better.

WHAT? Testable definitions of desires, jobs to be done.
WHEN? Whenever you need to know why customers would care.
WHY? If no one cares, no one buys.

venture design


The Lean Startup is about identifying your key assumptions and proving (or disproving) them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Keeping the venture focused on this in the early days will save you lot of money and grief.

WHAT? Testable definitions of the value you’re creating.
WHEN? Before you invest time in building things.
WHY? To avoid building something no one wants.

venture design


Successful innovators are constantly learning and constantly testing what works. This applies across personas, problem scenarios, propositions, as well as usability. The materials here will help you get started and focus on the right kind of testing at the right time.

WHAT? Scientific testing of your concepts.
WHEN? On most major decisions about what to build or how to sell it.
WHY? Know you’re right (or wrong) and stay focused on getting better.

venture design


If you’re a technology-based startup, this is probably where you’re spending most of your money. Aligning your product development investments with the items above is critical for obvious reasons. Alignment with the Personas & Problem scenarios are particularly important. The User Stories make for a great transition point and the practice or prototyping will help you think through what you *really* had in mind.

WHAT? Verbal and physical narratives to describe your ideas for implementation.
WHEN? Whenever you discuss what to build and how you’ll know if it’s working.
WHY? So your implementation colleagues know what you’re talking about.

venture design


These are resources you may find useful for tuning and improving your product. The style guide, for example, is something that every company and every product can use to improve the consistency of their user experiences and the focus of their execution.

WHAT? Tools for making your product better.
WHEN? I would say these are applicable to any product if the tool is new to you.
WHY? Keep making your product and your approach to working it better.

venture design


Agile is evolving into a vehicle for applied innovation at the team level, particularly for anything digital. If you’re looking for a way to organize and focus yourself and/or your team around Venture Design, I highly recommend the agile approaches described below.

WHAT? A methodology for innovation.
WHEN? When you’re looking for a way to organize the work.
WHY? Don’t get overwhelmed- get going (and keep going).

venture design


The 40+ page business plan that no one reads may be going out of style, but strong, testable business models are more important than ever. This material will help you get started with the Business Model Canvas, a simple one-page tool for designing and discussing business models.

WHAT? A tool for describing and discussing business models.
WHEN? Whenever a discussion of strategy and business model matters.
WHY? Be explicit, but don’t get bogged down in extraneous detail.

venture design


I love enterprise software and I love IT. But it could be so much better- failures rates are as high as 50-70% by some reckonings. A little bit of disciplined innovation can go a long way and that’s what these tools are about.

WHAT? Tutorials and methods for applying design and innovation methodologies to IT.
WHEN? Whenever you have an IT project of any substantial size.
WHY? You can massively improve your odds of success with a little design work up front.

venture design


venture design