PROTOTYPING PRIMER


Welcome fellow Entrepreneur, Product Guy or Indiehacker.

This is the ultimate primer about processes, methods and books regarding product development, prototyping and lean startup building.

Before you use this: Be aware, that there is not a single ultimate process, you need to find. Much more all those content is to be seen as a toolbox. Tools, that can be divided roughly into 4 phases: Ideation, Product / Solution, Product Market Fit and Scale.

Your Mileage may vary. This is just a first draft (v01) and you are welcome to help by adding links / methods / frameworks and discussion. Just drop me a line.

 

Stage 0: ideation Stage 1: Problem/Solution Fit Stage 2: Product/Market Fit Later Stages: Scale
How to come up with an good idea? Do I have a problem worth solving? Can I built something people want? How to accelerate growth?
book So Good They Can't Ignore You
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»Newport presents compelling scientific and contemporary case study evidence that the key to one's career success is to find out what you do well, where you have built up your 'career capital,' and then to put all of your efforts into that direction.«


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book Running Lean
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»In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a "product/market fit" for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.«


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book Traction
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»Most startups don't fail because they can't build a product. Most startups fail because they can't get traction. Startup advice tends to be a lot of platitudes repackaged with new buzzwords, but Traction is something else entirely. Traction will teach you the 19 channels you can use to build a customer base and how to pick the right ones for your business.«


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book The Hard Thing About Hard Things
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»Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup - practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn't cover, based on his popular ben's blog.«


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book Reframe
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»his book dives into those reasons, and offers a technique to help people unlock their creativity and generate brilliant ideas. It's a philosophy, methodology and technique «


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book Product Field Reference Guide
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»With "Product Field - The Reference", the developers of the Product Field provide valuable advice and instructions for ambitious product people: on the one hand it comprehensively documents the Product Field and its use, on the other it conveys a new and productive perspective on the nature and impact of product innovation. A must read for all those who want to develop successful products together in a complex world.«


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book Crossing the Chasm
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»In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle—which begins with innovators and moves to early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards—there is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. «


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book Scaling Lean
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»Scaling Lean offers an invaluable blueprint for mod­eling startup success. You’ll learn the essential metrics that measure the output of a working business model, give you the pulse of your company, communicate its health to investors, and enable you to make precise interventions when things go wrong. You’ll also learn how to:«


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book Zero to One
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»The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there.«


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book Will It Fly?
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»Stop rushing into businesses born from half-baked ideas, misguided theories, and other forms of self-delusion. A lack of proper validation kills more businesses than anything else. As Joel Barker says, 'Speed is only useful if you re running in the right direction.' Will It Fly? will help you make sure you are clear for takeoff.«


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book Hooked
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»Why do some products capture our attention, while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? This book introduces the "Hook Model", a four steps process companies use to build customer habits.«


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extension OKR
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»Objectives and key results (OKR) is a framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.«


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book Start with Why
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»START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.«


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book The Mom Test
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»They say you shouldn't ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn't ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It's a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little . As a matter of fact, it's not their responsibility to tell you the truth. It's your responsibility to find it and it's worth doing right .«


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book UX for Lean Startups
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» Determine whether people will buy your product before you build it. Listen to your customers throughout the product’s lifecycle. Understand why you should design a test before you design a product. Get nine tools that are critical to designing your product. Discern the difference between necessary features and nice-to-haves. Learn how a Minimum Viable Product affects your UX decisions. Use A/B testing in conjunction with good UX practices. Speed up your product development process without sacrificing quality«


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extension 6 sigma
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»Six Sigma strategies seek to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. It uses a set of quality management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization who are experts in these methods.«


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extension Design Thinking
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»Design thinking encompasses processes such as context analysis, problem finding and framing, ideation and solution generating, creative thinking, sketching and drawing, modelling and prototyping, testing and evaluating.«


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book Business Model Generation
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»It explains the most common Business Model patterns, based on concepts from leading business thinkers, and helps you reinterpret them for your own context. You will learn how to systematically understand, design, and implement a game-changing business model--or analyze and renovate an old one. Along the way, you'll understand at a much deeper level your customers, distribution channels, partners, revenue streams, costs, and your core value proposition.«


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extension Feature Sequencer
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»The purpose of a Minimum Viable Product is to create a product that we can use to validate a small set of assumptions about a product and it's role in a business. Now that we have a map of features integrated with user journeys, we are in a position to work out the first MVP and its following iterations. We do this by defining a Features Sequencer«


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extension Driver Tree
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»About a century ago, Du Pont created a metric concept called the value driver tree, which splits Value Based metrics such as EVA and ROI into their sub-metrics to show the source of the value added. Value drivers include measures of growth, margins, capital efficiency, and leverage.«


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explore Customer Exploration Map
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»The Customer Exploration Map helps you to identify problems and challenges of your customer, user or stakeholder and to explore possible solutions for this problem.«


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book Value Proposition Design
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»The book will help you understand the patterns of great value propositions, get closer to customers, and avoid wasting time with ideas that won’t work. You’ll learn the simple process of designing and testing value propositions, that perfectly match customers’ needs and desires.«


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explore Genchi Genbutsu
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»The Japanese term Genchi Genbutsu means as much as "current place" or "current thing", but is often translated as "go there and see the place where it happened" (Gemba). This procedure originates from the Toyota production system and is a fundamental principle of Lean Management:«


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explore A/B Testing
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»A/B testing (also known as bucket tests or split-run testing) is a randomized experiment with two variants, A and B.[1][2] It includes application of statistical hypothesis testing or "two-sample hypothesis testing" as used in the field of statistics.«


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explore Jobs To Be Done
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»Customer Jobs theory states that markets grow, evolve, and renew whenever customers have a Job to be Done, and then buy a product to complete it (get the Job Done). This makes a Job to be Done a process: it starts, it runs, and it ends. The key difference, however, is that a JTBD describes how a customer changes or wishes to change.«


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explore The Product Field
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»The Product Field is a comprehensive model and tested toolbox for product thinking. The Product Field helps you.. create a shared understanding of product thinking; survey and navigate the context you’re working in; design and refine your value proposition; identify potential for improvement and the tools to realize it; stay honest, escape delusions and avoid blind spots.«


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explore Thinking Aloud
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»In a thinking aloud test, you ask test participants to use the system while continuously thinking out loud — that is, simply verbalizing their thoughts as they move through the user interface.«


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book Lean Analytics
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»This book shows you how to validate your initial idea, find the right customers, decide what to build, how to monetize your business, and how to spread the word. Packed with more than thirty case studies and insights from over a hundred business experts, Lean Analytics provides you with hard-won, real-world information no entrepreneur can afford to go without.«


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explore Mission Statement
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»Are You On A Mission?What are you waiting for?Write your Mission Statement today and get started!Don’t worry, if it’s not perfect, you can change it anytime you want!«


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explore Business Model Canvas
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»Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup method for developing new or documenting existing business models.[1][2] It is a visual chart with elements describing a firm's or product's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.[3] It assists firms in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.«


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explore Shadowing
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»User Shadowing is an extremely useful behavioral observation practice that is used by UX designers and researchers to learn how people perform day-to-day tasks within their natural environment. It is especially useful when designing software products that will be used by people within a work environment, such as an office setting, lab, shop or out in the field. «


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extension Kano
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»The Kano model is a theory for product development and customer satisfaction developed in the 1980s by Professor Noriaki Kano, which classifies customer preferences into five categories.«


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explore How to be remarkable
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» Understand the urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won’t do. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, but better. Commit.«


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explore Value Proposition Canvas
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»Identify your customer's major Jobs-to-be-done, the pains they face when trying to accomplish their Jobs-to-be-done and the gains they perceive by getting their jobs done. Define the most important components of your offering, how you relieve pain and create gains for your customers. Adjust your Value Proposition based on the insights you gained from customer evidence and achieve Product-Market fit.«


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explore 10 to 3 to 1
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»Apple designers come up with 10 entirely different mock ups of any new feature. Not, Lopp said, ‘seven in order to make three look good’, which seems to be a fairly standard practice elsewhere. They’ll take ten, and give themselves room to design without restriction. Later they whittle that number to three, spend more months on those three and then finally end up with one strong decision.«


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extension AARRR
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»AARRR stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue and is pretty much the bee’s knees when it comes to understanding your customers, their journey and optimizing your funnel as well as setting some valuable and actionable metric goals for your startup.«


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explore Sales Safari
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»What type of product? What will it look and feel like? How will people use it? How should you price it and launch it? No guessing. It all comes from your Sales Safari data.«


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book Digital Innovation Playbook
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»The Digital Innovation Playbook is the essential exercise book for founders, doers and managers. As an advanced form of Design Thinking, it is consistently geared towards real-world use.«


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extension Scrum
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»Scrum is an agile process framework for managing complex knowledge work, with an initial emphasis on software development, although it has been used in other fields and is slowly starting to be explored for other complex work, research and advanced technologies.«


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explore RICE
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»RICE is an acronym for the four factors we use to evaluate each project idea: reach, impact, confidence and effort.«


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explore Niche Finding
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»When starting out, you should go after vertical markets and steer clear of horizontal markets. If someone asks you, “Who needs your product?” and you say, “Anyone with a small business!”, that’s a terrible idea. You need to focus on a specific niche.Don’t think, “I’m going to build a product.” Think, “I’m going to solve a very specific problem for a very specific group of people.”«


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book Lean Customer Development
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»With a combination of open-ended interviewing and fast and flexible research techniques, you’ll learn how your prospective customers behave, the problems they need to solve, and what frustrates and delights them. These insights may shake your assumptions, but they’ll help you reach the "ah-ha!" moments that inspire truly great products.«


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extension Kanban
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»Kanban is a lean method to manage and improve work across human systems. This approach aims to manage work by balancing demands with available capacity, and by improving the handling of system-level bottlenecks.«


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explore Value vs. Complexity
explore The idea maze
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»A good founder is capable of anticipating which turns lead to treasure and which lead to certain death. A bad founder is just running to the entrance of (say) the “movies/music/filesharing/P2P” maze or the “photosharing” maze without any sense for the history of the industry, the players in the maze, the casualties of the past, and the technologies that are likely to move walls and change assumptions.«


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book Designing Products People Love
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»Understand exactly who your customers are, what they want, and how to build products that make them happy. Learn frameworks and principles that successful product designers use. Incorporate five states into every screen of your interface to improve conversions and reduce perceived loading times. Discover meeting techniques that Apple, Amazon, and LinkedIn use to help teams solve the right problems and make decisions faster. Design effective interfaces across different form factors by understanding how people hold devices and complete tasks. Learn how successful designers create working prototypes that capture essential customer feedback. Create habit-forming and emotionally engaging experiences, using the latest psychological research«


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extension Continuous Delivery
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»Continuous delivery (CD or CDE) is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time and, when releasing the software, doing so manually.«


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explore Product Tree
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»Prioritizing new features into your product by using a simple 2x2 grid of Business Value versus Implementation Complexity.«


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extension Wardley Maps
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»The use of topographical intelligence in business strategy«


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book SPRINT
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»Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint.«


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extension Continous Integration
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»In software engineering, continuous integration (CI) is the practice of merging all developers' working copies to a shared mainline several times a day.«


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book This is Marketing
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»How to build trust and permission with your target market. The art of positioning--deciding not only who it's for, but who it's not for. Why the best way to achieve your goals is to help others become who they want to be. Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work. The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not). How marketing is at its core about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.«


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explore Empathy Map
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»The Empathy Map helps you gain a deep understanding of your stakeholder by exploring different aspects and including different senses.«


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book Building Evolutionary Architectures
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»The software development ecosystem is constantly changing, providing a constant stream of new tools, frameworks, techniques, and paradigms. Over the past few years, incremental developments in core engineering practices for software development have created the foundations for rethinking how architecture changes over time, along with ways to protect important architectural characteristics as it evolves. This practical guide ties those parts together with a new way to think about architecture and time.«


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explore Pain Matrix
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»The pain matrix can help with organizing tons of data.«


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book Lean Branding
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»This practical toolkit helps you build your own robust, dynamic brands that generate conversion. You’ll find over 100 DIY branding tactics and inspiring case studies, and step-by-step instructions for building and measuring 25 essential brand strategy ingredients, from logo design to demo-day pitches, using The Lean Startup methodology’s Build-Measure-Learn loop.«


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explore Working Backwards / Press Release
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»For new initiatives a product manager writes an internal press release announcing the finished product, it is centered around the customer problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will blow away existing solutions, writes McAllister.«


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explore Storyboarding
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»A storyboard is a graphic organizer in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a interactive sequence, like for a business model or app flow. «


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explore Riskiest Assumption
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»Don’t Rely on Opinions. Find Facts and Learn From Them! Identifying the right riskiest assumption is the most important first step.«


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explore Customer Segmentation
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» The practice of breaking down a larger market into smaller identifiable group of users who share specific needs and who reference each other.«


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Exit Criteria: You have a problem and a target group and can commit to spend the next month's and years with it. Exit Criteria: You need enough proof, that customers are aware of their problem and actually looking for an solution. Exit Criteria: Customers are using your product, staying with it (retention) and actually paying for it.
       
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How to use

Every column is contains a lot of methods or inspiration for you to try in a specific stage of your project. Your idea walks through the different stages from left to right, starting with finding an idea and testing the idea first.

Why is this? Because, if you don't know whether you're solving a good problem, you don't need to build a product. And if you don't have a product with market fit, you don't have to worry about scaling.

Every idea goes through these phases more or less consciously / controlled. In each of these 4 phases there are now a handful of methods and templates which can be used. Often these complement each other quite well providing a different point of view, if you can't get any further at one point.


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About

PROTOTYPING PRIMER is a project from Klaus Breyer, a CTO and Startup Founder/Advisor from Berlin.

It is fueled from 10 years of experience and a lived philosophy that good software is always used but never finished.

Interested in more? The main page of v01.io serves Blog Articles, publications, more projects and the legal imprint.

Disclaimer: This page uses some affiliate links. Please use them to buy the books and support the work on this project - thank you!