[workshop] Problem – Outcome – HDD with MVP

11 Apr 2020 | Product Management

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Please find below the activities for a one day workshop for going from the problem to the MVP via a Hypotheses Driven Development (HDD) statement. The following are the activities for the day 1 of 2. Day 2 of 2 was about filling the MVP Canvas. This two-day workshop is a good option in case you don’t have 5 days for a lean inception workshop (there is more on this comparison at the end of this post).

Please find below the instructions explaining the day 1 activities (day 2 of 2 was about the MVP Canvas):


—————- (begin of the workshop instructions) ———

In today’s workshop we will link problems to the proposed solution hypotheses. The following activities are in direction of identifying the MVP. Tomorrow we’ll go in further detail about the (selected and aligned) MVP.

HDD Prime directive: We strongly believe and accept the need to validate the proposed solution hypotheses. Therefore we will be working with MVP to validate each hypotheses. But all will start by looking at the current state problems.

1. List the problems

ACTIVITY  – List the problems we are trying to solve

PROBLEMS: Identify and understand the Current State by pointing out a set of problems and pains in the context in question. At this stage, you should explore the current state by describing the problems and the needs. Understanding the problems is essential before thinking about and working out a solution.

Example: the student can’t find the score on a specific exam until the teacher says it in the classroom

If the generated list is too large, consider narrowing it down to the top ranked problems (this 3-step prioritisation by impact and frequency might help).

2 – List the expected outcome

ACTIVITY  – Create a list of expected outcome (related to and/or in the direction of solving these problems)

EXPECTED OUTCOME: Identify the Desired State by aligning expected outcome related to solving some of the current state problems or fulfilling some of the current state needs. Avoid describing the solution in detail on how we will achieve the desired state; instead, list the expected outcome (typically related to elimination or changes to the Current State PROBLEMS).

Example: Students see their exam score as soon as the teacher corrects the exam

3 – Fill up the HDD template

ACTIVITY  – Write the HDD statements (to correlate MVP with expected outcome)

Write down the HDD statement(s) to describe the hypotheses driven development. For doing so, you will have to fill up the HDD template that correlates an MVP with the expected outcome it is trying to achieve and the metrics that demonstrates the business hypotheses validation. You can write as many statements as needed. Avoid describing the MVP features; instead, give it a nickname that best depicts its intent and format. Later, if the MVP is selected for trial, you’ll have a chance to detail it.

We believe (MVP nickname)
will achieve (expected outcome)
We will know that this happened based on
(metrics to validate the business hypotheses)

We believe a shared google excel per exam
Will let students see their exam score as soon as the teacher corrects the exam
We will know that this happened based on
– The count of how many people besides the teacher hit the shared excel is higher than 30% of the total number of students in a specific class
– The number of times the button “share this excel with my classroom colleague” is at least 20% of the total number of students in a specific class.


—————- (end of the workshop instructions) ———

How does this workshop relates to a Lean Inception workshop?

I prefer to follow the activities order as proposed by the lean inception workshop. Unfortunately this team did not have enough time for a five day workshop. This team only had two days. This is the main reason I followed a different workshop, with different activities.

The main difference: this workshop goes from problem statement to expected outcome to HDD with MVP, then a MVP canvas. Whereas, a lean inception takes a route that is more balanced between the business, the UX and the technical perspective, going through a sequence of activities — product vision, is – is not, personas, user journeys, features brainstorming and business UX tech review — before proposing a MVP.

I find the lean inception provides an easier path to align and define the MVP. It is much easier for the facilitator as well as for the participants to align and define the MVP.

This workshop was faster and the MVP was defined with less time spent looking at the personas and user journeys. Although, there was a weaker alignment between the business, the UX and the technical people.

Both workshops end with a MVP Canvas. On this two day workshop, the participants had a much harder time filling up the MVP Canvas. On the contrary, on a Lean inception workshop, the participants, typically, are more aligned and more confident for filling up the MVP Canvas.


>> This content is part of a series on inception activities.

Paulo Caroli

Paulo Caroli is the author of the best-selling book “Lean Inception: How to Align People and Build the Right Product” (the first on a series of books about Lean Strategy and Delivery). He's also the creator of FunRetrospectives.com , a site and book about retrospectives, futurospectives and team building activities. Caroli writes on this blog frequently. Receive the next post in your email. Sign up here .
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