Bytelion was thrilled to partner in Baltimore Innovation Week 2019 (BIW19), hosting a session titled, “Lean Product Design for Startups”. Since inception, over seven years ago, Bytelion has been a proud supporter of startups in the Greater Baltimore area and beyond. As an everyday practitioner of agile methodology for software development, the team at Bytelion has spent countless hours taking a “lean” approach to designing and developing software and applications for both startups and well-established businesses.
Last night, Bytelion’s Head of User Experience, Marc Hausle, led the session for a large group of BIW19 attendees at Clark Burger in Harbor East. If you were unable to attend the event, here are some of the key takeaways from the session.
What is Lean Product Design?
Founders and entrepreneurs commonly will fall in love with an idea or a “unicorn vision” they have for the business, which is usually based on their untested assumptions. When they build based on these unvalidated assumptions they are more likely to waste valuable time and resources building something nobody wants. The goal of lean product design is to avoid this waste by focusing efforts on only building what you can validate as required based on reliable data and/or customer feedback. Lean product design recommends building something fast so you can begin to test hypotheses against real user feedback.
Move Fast and Iterate
Once you start gathering feedback and performing other research it is critical to document everything as well as clearly defining how to measure success for both the business and the users. By building what is commonly referred to as an MVP, you can test your hypotheses, validate your assumption or pivot if necessary. Don’t try to be perfect in the beginning and be ok with being wrong as it will allow you to make necessary iterations early before you go too far down the wrong path.
The Design Process
When you are in the design process, you’ll want to create a prioritized list of potential features. Focus on first building the things that you know will have the biggest impact on delivering your product’s value proposition. “Fall in love with the problem you are trying to solve as opposed to particular features or solutions you are building”. You’ll be more successful if you stay focused on the problem and are willing to iterate towards the developing features that will best solve it and avoiding those that don’t. Marc also introduced the concept of time-boxing for certain design activities so that you don’t waste any unnecessary time or energy trying to perfect something before you test it.
When taking the lean approach there are a number of practices you can incorporate into building the best user experience for your product. For example, Marc discusses user personas and user journeys, red routes, information architecture, user flows, hand-drawn sketches, wireframes, and prototypes. These practices are all ways to gather and incorporate data garnered from real user interactions and testing. Each exercise also builds off of the other and makes the next step in the process easier. It is also easier to go back and improve and iterate on past versions of what you have done.
Lastly, he discussed design sprints which are a unique five-day process for validating ideas and solving big challenges through prototyping and testing ideas with customers.
Feedback is critical!
If you were able to attend the event we thank you and would love to get your feedback.
Or if you didn’t make and you are interested in learning more about Lean Product Design please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to see if it makes sense for you. Contact Marc directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.