5 steps to build an MLP (Minimum Lovable Product)

Do you have an awesome idea for a product, but you have no clue how to start? You want to make sure that your product will be successful, but you don’t know what should be the first step? At UX Studio, we had the same issues before, but thanks to Jamie Levy and her book “UX Strategy”, we found a way to fix these. By mixing up Business strategy & User research you can drastically increase your chances that your product will be loved by your customers.

Here are the 5 steps for a good product:

allsteps

Avoid the worst thing what you can do

But before dive deeper in the steps,  let me show you the worst thing what you can do in a project:

“You shall never make decisions based on assumptions.”

Too often, decisions are made based on biased assumption, which is very, very risky.

The problem with assumptions, as Coach Buttermaker would say, is that when you ‘ASSUME’ you make an ASS out of U an ME.

assume

Of course you cannot predict 100% of a product success, but you can make more concious desicions based on real user feedback & data. And now, I’ll show you how to do it.

So let’s get deeper in the 5 steps which will help you to see if your product will solve a real problem:

Step 1: Define your users

step1

First, You have to define your primary customer segment. You can say, “But my customers are everybody”…well if you focus on everyone, basically you focus on no one. (Not even Facebook could do that. Remember, at the beginning it was only available for students at Harvard University.)

You primary customers will be a group of people with the common need or problem. This is a business strategy step for your product team.

*Tips how to do it: You must work with your product team! You cannot make this step alone, it’s a team process.

teamworkww

Step 2: Define their problem what you want to solve

step2

As the founders of Waze,  John Boudreau and Steven Rice would say:

“Fall in love with the problem, not with the solution.”

Your product must fulfill a need, or solve a problem, othervise people won’t use it. You have to find out your customers biggest problem. How can you do it?

*Tips how to do it: Same as before, this is a teamwork process too, you must do it with your team.

We recently wrote an ebook: “Product Managers’ guide to UX design”. Click here to download!

Step 3: Create provisonal personas

step3

A persona is a fictional character of a group of your target audience. In development a product team (stakeholder, product manager/owners, designer, developers, etc) use personas to build the right feature for the right people.

After you defined your audience, and their problem which you will solve, probably you & your team have tons of assumptions. Now you have to write it down.

It will look like this:

persona

Step 4: Validate your ideas!

step4

This is the part when you literaly get out of your comfort zone: You have to see & talk with real potential users based on your provisional personas.

You did Step 1, step 2, step 3, now it’s time to validate these steps. Your aim is to uncover whether your product, your solution, would solve your potential customers’ problem or not. It’s better if this process has been made by another, unbiased person.

How do you do it? There are several ways how you can validate your assumptions, let me show you 3 of them:

a.Interviews : Again, you want to see the unbiased truth, so it’s the best if the interview has been made by someone who is not engaged too much in the product vision. [Good questions, to collect data. No validation at this point, just collect data]

b.Field Study : This can take a lot of time, if you don’t know what you are exactly looking for. But this is not the case now, for you already have assumptions which you just have to validate now by actively observing your users’ behavior in their natural environment.

c.User test : If you already have a product, or a prototype of the product, you can validate your assumptions based on testing your audience!

Step 5: Reassess you ideas based on the results.

step5

Analyse your results: don’t just gather feedback & data, use them!

The whole process was about gathering ideas, and validating them. The “last” step is to check if you have to go for a second round (probably you have), and see what you have to change for the next round. But you have to utilitize what you have learned in step 4.

*Tips how to do it: Go back to the product team, show them the results & reassess step 1, step 2 & step 3. Then test it (step 4), and assess what you’ve learned again.

rocket

So these are the magic steps to build a product idea which will solve your users’ problem (and therefore they will love it!). It’s not a rocket surgery. You only need to have a little time, a good teamspirit, and an open mind to do it!

If you want to learn more about how to build good product, stay in touch, follow us on facebook or twitter.

Discover users, see the real problem, uncover motivations & needs, cut out bullshit, share the truth, find a solution, create a vision.
If you want me on your side, just give me a great coffee. ;)