Lean Validation Cheat Sheet

The Lean Validation Cheat Sheet is a quick & dirty reference for innovators. It shows which design & research techniques are most useful for validating assumptions in different phases of product innovation.

Hester Bruikman & I made it in Bali 😉🌴

¡Muchas gracias a Sergio Majluf por la traducción! 🙏🏼


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Lean Validation Cheat Sheet - The Greatness Studio - Updated on 19 June 2023


Eric Ries’ Lean Startup methodology starts from the premise that we can engineer startup success by following a simple process. For any startup, product, or service to be successful, four core assumptions must be true:

The problem we’re addressing is a meaningful one.

The solution we’ve chosen fixes (part of) the problem.

Our product delivers the solution effectively.

The market we’ve chosen wants to buy our product
(i.e. our business model is sustainable).

The Basics of Lean Validation

Innovation Process Visual with Icons

Lean validation exists to minimize risk and maximize learning while developing products & services. The process (1) makes assumptions explicit and (2) invests the minimum necessary to test each assumption.

Traditionally, a startup or established company invests lots of time & money perfecting a product before putting it on the market. If the product isn’t successful, they have no idea which of their core assumptions wasn’t true.

The “Learn, Build, Measure” Loop

Learn, Build, Measure

Most people refer to this as the “Build, Measure, Learn” loop. But Hester & I agree that Learning first saves time and misunderstandings, especially for large teams. The process of validating each assumption is an iterative loop with three steps:

Learn: Explore your assumptions & decide what to do next.

Build: Articulate your assumptions in a quick, cheap prototype.

Measure: Conduct experiments validate your assumptions.

Based on whether your experiments invalidate or validate your assumptions, you can decide whether to go back & try again with different assumptions (pivot) or proceed to validating your next set of assumptions (persevere).

After validating product-market fit, repeat the process continuously. People & their needs change over time, so assumptions that are valid today might be invalid tomorrow.

Lean Validation: Step By Step

Innovation Process with Labels

Here’s the Lean Validation Cheat Sheet in text. Everything listed here is explained elsewhere… I recommend DuckDuckGo. 😉

Validate the Problem

Validate the Problem

Core Assumption

This is a meaningful problem to address.

LEARN: Exploration Questions

What is the problem?
Who has this problem?
How does it impact those people’s lives?
How do people (try to) address the problem now?
How much money or value do people spend to address this problem now?

BUILD: Prototypes

Vision, Objectives, Actions
Character Map or Persona
Journey Map

MEASURE: Experiments

(Empathic) Interviewing
Field Observation
Co-Create Journey Map
Diary Study

Problem – Solution Fit

Problem-Solution Fit

Core Assumption

This solution fixes (part of) the problem.

LEARN: Exploration Questions

Does this solution work (and can we prove it)?
Does it solve enough of the problem to be meaningful for people?
Do people trust the solution enough to use it?
Are people willing to exchange money or value for this solution?

BUILD: Prototypes

Value Proposition (Canvas)
Concierge MVP

MEASURE: Experiments

Literature Study
Competitive Analysis
Co-Create Value Proposition
Concierge experiment

Product – Solution Fit

Solution-Product Fit

Core Assumption

Our product delivers the solution effectively.

LEARN: Exploration Questions

Is our product meaningfully better than what people are doing now?
Is our product usable enough to deliver the solution effectively?
Does our product enable the necessary behavior change?

BUILD: Prototypes

Paper prototype
Wizard-of-Oz prototype
Minimum-Viable Product

MEASURE: Experiments

Design Review
Usability Testing
UX Testing
Alpha & Beta Testing

Product – Market Fit

Product-Market Fit

Core Assumption

Our business model is sustainable.

LEARN: Exploration Questions

How many people have this problem?
Can we continue delivering this product over time?
Do people trust our product enough to use it?
Are people willing to exchange money or value for our product?

BUILD: Prototypes

Landing Page
Newsletter Page
Video Prototype

MEASURE: Experiments

Ads Testing
A/B Testing
Pre-order Experiment

Let’s Talk

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