You’ve got your vision of what you want to build.
You’ve also got a ton of unknowns and uncertainty. You know you can’t just go build it and hope they will come. You have to do it iteratively. Put a little bit out there, see how people react, figure out what to do next.
But where do you start? How much is enough to start getting feedback?
Josh Seiden gave this awesome talk at Boston’s Lean Startup Circle on replacing requirements with hypotheses. And it occurred to me that what he’s really talking about is hypothesis-driven development, which I love.
In Agile, we drive our development with tests. We say, “okay, I know what the product needs to do, so let me write the test first.” It’s an automatic check. If I accidentally develop the feature incorrectly, the test will fail and I’ll get immediate feedback that the feature isn’t ready yet.
But what about in a startup where we’ve only got guesses for what the product should do? Then the tests should not be whether features are implemented correctly. Who cares if nobody wants them?
What we do care about is creating a successful business. So those tests aren’t for if the product works, they’re for whether it’s the right product. Now we’ve got an automated check. We don’t waste our time & money building something until we’ve validated it’s the right thing to build.