Javelin Board to Help You Achieve Product-Market Fit by Transforming Product Ideas to Experiment

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When building a product, one of the most important steps is market validation. A startup will never succeed without a product-market fit. So how to do product experiments in an effective and efficient way?

The answer is: Javelin Board.

What is Javelin Board?

Javelin Board to transform Product Ideas to Experiment
Javelin Board to Transform Product Ideas to Experiment

To put it simply, Javelin Board is a tool to validate ideas through experimentation. Lately, lean startup is a popular methodology to approach startup. We create MVP with as little resource as possible to maximizes the number of iterations. This way, we got a huge room of errors to increase our change in reaching a product-market fit. But, it’s not enough.

We need to minimize errors as much as possible in order to reach product-market fit as fast as possible. Javelin Board is the perfect tool to do this. This proper methodology will validate our ideas and making sure our product is going the right way!

How to use Javelin Board?

Remember: always start from the left side – Brainstorming Area!

To validate a product, we first need product ideas. And this is where we think what kind of product to test. There are 4 areas to be filled:

Customer

Who our target market is? (image source: Unsplash)

This is where we define who will we test our product to? Or, who is our target market? Let’s say we would like to create e-commerce from farmers, then there are 2 customers to validate: farmer and end-buyer. It’s also always better to make our customer as specific as possible, so end-buyer could be written: housewife with age around 30, or housewife from a middle-income family.

Here is another example:

  • Product: Korean drama service
  • User to test:
    • High school or College student who loves Korean drama
    • People who like to watch any drama, not necessarily Korean drama
    • Housewife that loves Korean drama

Ok, now we have 3 potential customers. Choose one. This exact customer will be our focus to cater our product to. Having exact persona in mind will help us to determine which way our product will go.

Problem

What problems do our customers faced to achieve their goals? (image source: Unsplash)

Now, what problems do this particular problem have? For example sake, I’ll take my country (Indonesia) as our customer nationality.

So, I want to focus on this segment: High school or College student who loves Korean Drama.

Then, create a list of problems this particular market have:

  • As they’re still in college/high school, they might only watch drama outside school hours, so: limited time to watch Korean Drama.
  • In Indonesia, a slow internet connection is a common issue and it will our problem.
  • Hard to understand the show because of the language barrier.

Obviously, at this point, these 3 problems are still assumptions. Well, that’s because this is an experiment. We will use these 3 problems to challenge the assumption, if it’s true, then we’re one step closer to product-market fit.

Solution

Get product ideas that could solve our customer problems
How can I make their live easier by solving the problems? (image source: Unsplash)

Now here is the decisive step: what can I do to help them solve their problems? This will lead us to a product that we could experiment with the target market. Does our solution really solve the problem? Does it make their life easier?

There are lots of solution we could try, for example for experiment:

  • Try adding subtitles in Indonesia. Test whether the one with subtitles engaged the customer more?
  • Try adding a video not with Indonesia subtitle, but with Indonesia dubbing? Does it work better?
  • Try adding download before streaming to make sure that there will be no buffering for the user in the middle of watching

With this, we could already create 3 experiments. The result will lead us closer to product-market fit. And just like you realize, this is a iteration process. We need to experiment with our products a lot of time before getting the perfect formula for it.

Assumption

While listing problems or creating a solution, there are a lot of assumptions we use. Make sure to list every single of it in terms of which one is riskiest. This list of assumptions needs to be cleared with our customer.

Do they really have slow internet?

Do they really watch Korean dramas on weekend or outside school hour? What if they actually watch it together with friends at school?

This kind of assumption need to be cleared before we launch our product.

Moving from Brainstorm to Execution

Now, we have done with our left side of Javelin Board. Great. But, the important one is this step. Execution. What good is it to have lot of ideas but never execute it?

Execution is everything, let’s start the experiment! (Image source: Unsplash)

Ok, let’s start the fun part: experiment!

Now, take cards/items from the left side (brainstorm are) to the right. Which one would you like to experiment with first? Create the ideas and test for our target customers. This will lead us to know whether our product goes in the right way or not.

Before we get out of the building and ask whether they like it or not, there’s one section we need to fill. Method and success criteria. How do we define whether our experiment a success or failure? There are lots of methods we could do: A/B test or direct interview. As for success criteria, choose something that aligns with our goals, like watch minutes or the number of complaints.

Done? Then, let’s “get out” of the building (or, online, I mean we could test the idea online, right?) and make our customer try the ideas!

Do they like it? No? Why? Get as much feedback as possible, it’s an experiment after all!

The last step is to write down the result and learning we got from this experiment. This user story is really important for our product developments after all.

  • Do they prefer to watch Korean drama with subtitles or dubbing?
  • Do they prefer to download the video first or stream?
  • What kind of complaint they have?
  • Do our solution solve their problem?

Javelin Board Usage Example

To conclude, we have done an experiment with our product ideas of Korean drama streaming service. Here are the steps to make it easier for us to recall back what we’ve learned rather than reading it again from the beginning.

  • Customer – Who our target customers are?
    • High school or College student who loves Korean drama
    • People who like to watch any drama, not necessarily Korean drama
    • Housewife that loves Korean drama
  • Problem – What problem do they face to achieve their goals?
    • As they’re still in college/high school, they might only watch drama outside school hours, so: limited time to watch Korean Drama.
    • In Indonesia, a slow internet connection is a common issue and it will our problem.
    • Hard to understand the show because of the language barrier.
  • Solution – What solutions we could offer to solve their problem?
    • Try adding subtitles in Indonesia. Test whether the one with subtitles engaged the customer more?
    • Try adding a video not with Indonesia subtitle, but with Indonesia dubbing? Does it work better?
    • Try adding download before streaming to make sure that there will be no buffering for the user in the middle of watching.

Of course, you could your own problem and solution, the goal is to create the best product-market fit.

After deciding these three steps, we are ready to test our ideas to target customer. Do they like it? What kind of feedback they could give us?

Ok, we got the feedback, then what? Of course do it all over again until we got as close as possible to product-market fit!

Thank you for reading, if you have any questions please leave it in the comment section!

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