Jordie Peters, Head of Product Success at WorkingMouse and Jake Wood, Head of Operations shared their learnings in a webinar on the best ways to maximise your product market fit. The webinar was hosted on the 7th of July 2020 and is available below.
For those that prefer the written word over watching, we'll distill the key themes of the webinar below.
What is product/market fit?
One of the more popular definitions is 'being in a good market, with a product that can satisfy that market.'
You can always feel when product/market fit is not happening. The customers aren't quite getting value out of the product, word of mouth isn't spreading, usage isn't growing that fast, press reviews are kind of 'blah,' the sales cycle takes too long, and lots of deals never close.
You can always feel product/market fit when it is happening. The customers are buying the product just as fast as you can make it - or usage is growing just as fast as you can add more servers.
- Marc Andreessen, 2007.
The role of the product owner
The product owner plays an integral role in helping to find the product/market fit. There are some simple tips we recommend for the role.
- Define a single Product Owner.
- Be a product owner, not a product dictator.
- Allow your PO to dedicate time to work with your developers.
- Building and designing a quality product is often a near full-time job.
- Fall in love with your problem, not your solution.
- Understand that your users are your greatest resource!
Tips to keep in mind
Get to know your customer
- It's almost never everyone.
- Define your first customer.
- Listen to their problems, not their wish list.
- They rarely know what they want, but their problems are real - pay attention.
- How frequent and intense is the problem?
- Are they willing to pay to fix it?
- Know who isn't your customer.
- Be careful listening to issues from people who don't have the problem you're trying to solve.
Start with your MVP
The minimum viable product is the very first version of your application. What is the bare minimum that can be released while still providing value? Further below we've outlined three examples of highly recognisable products that had very different MVP's. Some further tips on building an MVP include:
- Your MVP shouldn't be special, it's only the first iteration.
- Your MVP doesn't have to be scalable.
- Important to define MVP length.
- The longer it takes, the more you spend before you learn from users.
- Build an iterative process that works for you.
- We use short iterations to deliver value and receive valuable feedback.
- Release as often as possible, build your process around learning.
Define key metrics
To measure the success of the MVP, metrics are key. There are a number of tools that can help with this - check out Google Analytics, Hotjar and Hubspot.
- Start with 5-10 metrics that are important to your business.
- Use event-based metric gathering to build these into the software.
- Ensure everyone in the business knows how to understand the metrics.
- Make metrics part of your requirements.
MVP Example 1: Airbnb
The founders of Airbnb found an upcoming event that meant hotels were extremely overpriced. They hacked together a website that would list just the founders home and 3 mattresses available at their house. They immediately sold the 3 mattresses. They validated their problem and their assumptions - people did want cheaper accommodation in San Francisco. Obviously they still needed to validate if people would be willing to post their own house.
MVP Example 2: Twitter
Twitter started through a hackathon for a previous company of the founders as an internal application. They created a simple version where you could send a sms and share a "tweet" to a small group within the business. Eventually people's phone bills were so large from the usage that they had to expand to fully web-based, opening the door to a wider audience as well.