Validating Ideas and Identifying Opportunities

All products or features start with an idea and Ideas can come from anyone maybe through personal discovery or encountered problems, or for companies through external channels (Customer Research & Data, Competitor Analysis, Industry & Technology trends) or internal channels (Existing Customer Research, Team Brainstorming, Internal analytics & trends, or Customer Feedback) regardless of the source, what matters most is to understand both the business short and long term goals and Identify opportunities for the company.

Getting a new product or feature idea is not enough, as a product manager or entrepreneur, you need to learn how to validate and prioritize ideas against the company goals. This can be achieved by validating:

  1. market demand,
  2. the customer problem/pain point, and
  3. the product – if the solution is right or not.

This validation can be done through a process called Assumption Mapping. Assumptions mapping is an exercise in which a team unpacks any assumptions they may have about a new product or service’s feasibility, viability, and desirability. Once outlined, each assumption is prioritized by importance and potential risk. It can be broken down into 3 steps:

  • Step 1: Break down the idea into a Customer Problem Statement: This is simply a statement that outlines problems that your customers face. It can be written by following the below template:

For [ Target Customer ]
Who has [ Customer Need ]

[ Product Name ]
is a [ market category ]

That [ does these kinds of benefits ]
Unlike [ Competition ]

My Product is [ Unique because of these reasons ]

We’ll know this is true when [ these objectives are met]

  • Step 2: Highlight and identify hidden assumptions in the problem and solution: From the customer problem statement, you can then identify the list of assumptions with your team while focusing on the customer needs and pain points.

Step 3: Prioritize the riskiest assumptions using the risk importance graph: The Risk Importance Chart provides a useful framework that helps you decide which risks need your attention the most. Do this by ranking each assumption based on:

  • Risk – How much do I really know about this? (1 – 10)
  • Importance – If we get this wrong, how likely will we fail? (1 – 10)

After you have prioritized your assumptions, you need to choose those of high risk and Impact, these are the ones you need to prioritize during user research.

In the next article, I will work you through how to validate problems through constructive customer interviews.

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