In my last post, I defined Lean Product Management as Achieving ever better product-market fit in ever less time with ever fewer resources and expressed that in the formula that can help guide our decision making:
In this post, I wanted to dive into the numerator and what goes into evaluating something as subjective as product-market fit or “fit” for short. Achieving and maintaining fit is an incremental process and needs to be tested repeatedly from concept development through limited availability and post launch stages. This testing occurs through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.
During concept development, fit is usually measured qualitatively though interviews and focus groups. If the person being interviewed or shown the concept goes out of their way to ask to be notified when the product becomes available that is a good sign. If you ask them if they’d like to know when the product becomes available, assume they are just being polite when if they answer “yes.” If they say they like the idea, it is fair. If they say they love it, they probably only like it. What does come out of these concept test interviews are the benefit and feature areas that customers like, are indifferent to, dislike, or have concerns. This research not only helps guide the product priorities but also the messaging.
There are advanced methods, such as problem detection studies, that can help rank problems to be solved. Kano surveys can provide insight into which problems if solved in the product would create excitement from users and if not solved would create dissatisfaction. Adaptive conjoint allows companies to test different configurations and prices to understand relative tradeoffs users will make. These advanced methods:
- Are expensive.
- Assume the user is familiar with the product category (not good for visionary products).
- Assume your implementation of the solution will meet the user’s expectation.
In this concept stage, measurement is often around trying to be directional correct. The goal, however, is to learn and adjust the product design and messaging to increase fit by the time it is released.
In the next post, we will look at measuring fit once the product is available, either limited or general release.