On validation: importance and methods
Developing a digital product is an expensive and time-consuming activity. These known facts in this industry haven’t secluded entrepreneurs and visionaries to carry on with their ideas. Companies have been built around their founder’s vision of a product; large amounts of money have been raised to develop these products, and launch them to the market.
It’s true that some of those products have been successful. But there are others that have not. The reason? More often than not, the founder and their team are infatuated with the idea of a product that isn’t what the market needs or wants. That is why a validation process is recommended before wasting the investors’ money and the team’s time on development.
Then and now
Historically, the process of creating an app was made of: defining the idea, planning, developing, and launching. The biggest problem in this process is that the founder and their team needed to wait for the product to be in the market to check how successful it was and if what had been created was what the public really needed.
If the answer was ‘no’, it meant money and time had been thrown into the trash can.
With the introduction of new methodologies, such as Agile and Lean, new ways of working have come to light. New processes have been created especially to disclose more details around the question that has always consumed most of a founder’s energy: will a product be profitable?
Now entrepreneurs and investors want to be sure their product is the right fit for the market before they launch. In order to achieve that, they choose to go through a validation process and a low-cost prototype.
What is a Validation Process?
The Validation process consists of a series of steps to follow in order to verify an initial hypothesis, as well as finding risks and opportunities within the product idea.
According to our Product Manager, this process depends on each client, and every single project needs revision and adjustment to the understanding they need to reach. The main factors to keep in mind are:
- Understand the user
This stage can be done, among other methods, through exploratory interviews and research from the internet.
- Define a problem hypothesis
- Define the target market
It’s important to be sure about this hypothesis and the chosen market are confirmed through experiments.
- Define a value proposition hypothesis and confirm it through experiments.
- Define a hypothesis solution and confirm it through experiments.
These experiments recommended for the second to the fourth stages may very well be the following: validation interviews, questionnaires, internet ads, landing pages, a prototype, a video, etc.
Design Thinking methodology, Lean Startup, and Design Sprint all recommend a variation of those steps to follow when working towards the better outcome of an idea before development.
This process has one major objective: to get your idea closer to what the market needs. As a result, during the discovery of the correctness of your assumptions, you also get feedback and information on opportunities you might have missed when making the product plan -and also risks might come to light, and they need to be taken care of.
At the end of a Validation process, your assurance on what level of success the product could have when launched in the market is higher.