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The Validation Backlog

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This article was written by Taylor Wescoatt, one of Seedcamp’s Experts-in-Residence. Follow Taylor on Twitter @twescoatt. 

A lot of what I have written is preparation for deciding what to actually build, and naturally you’re wondering, “Ok so when do I start designing and coding”?  Once you’ve done your Vision Roadmap, and your Customer Journey, now you’ve got something to work with.

Your Vision Roadmap has given you a Proposition to focus on, for example; “Simple way to get a last-minute sparkle on my car”

Your Customer Journey has then allowed you to select a few key Behaviours to focus on. Let’s continue with the Carsparkle example above and imagine one is “Schedule First Appointment”

For each Behaviour “X” we are targeting, here’s a progression of questions I like to ask;

  1. Why don’t they do Behaviour “X”? (Barriers – ideally you can ask the customer about them)
  2. How might we encourage them to “X”? (your features/ideas whether product or marketing or ops)
  3. For each idea, what is the cheapest, easiest way to validate that? (customer engagement)

validation.backlog

What you end up with is a list of hypotheses in the form of;

“We believe that ‘Feature’ will encourage ‘Behaviour’ because it will address ‘Barrier’. We will know this is likely by doing ‘Customer Validation’.”

By grouping them according to the Validation techniques (surveys, guerilla testing, live testing, customer interviews, etc) – you will have queued up your next 3-5 Customer Validation engagements. This is your Backlog for the Validation Track of a Dual Track Agile approach. Only features/ideas that come out with a “Yes!” from the Validation Track are allowed to enter the Delivery Track of your Dual Track Agile programme.

For a list of all my articles: http://seedcamp.com/eir-product-articles/

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