Imagine a simple strategy that could 10X the success of your new App or other tech product at first release… Would that be worth understanding?
Get ready as we explore why you should create comprehensive Solution Requirements for your product BEFORE moving to product feature design.
I’ve got 9 simple steps to get it done.
So, what are Solution Requirements?
Building a Solution Requirements is a crucial step that many first-time startup founders completely overlook before jumping into designing their product.
First and foremost, they are not a description of your product’s features.
Your Solution Requirements include everything required to deliver a product solution that users will absolutely love. And not just that… They also highlight what the product must provide to have a good chance of commercial viability.
Think about the desired outcomes, needs, and emotions of your target users.
Outcomes such as; saving time or money, convenience, simplifying tasks, fostering connections, providing vital data, integrations etc…
And, how your product should make users feel like; happy, connected, entertained, in control or even avoiding disappointment, eliminating frustration etc.
It’s all about understanding your users and what they truly want and need.
Why is this Important
Most aspiring tech founders start with an idea rooted in their own experience. They come across a problem in their own life and start searching for a solution.
When they discover no solution exists, they realise there is a gap in the market and an opportunity for a killer new product that can solve the problem for themselves and everyone else.
This is where inexperience can first bite...
When a founder lacks coding experience, they commonly engage a software developer and provide their vision of how the core features need to work.
Trouble is, they rarely spend any time understanding exactly what outcomes are most important to their target users.
So, when they finally release the first version of their product, they find a less than enthusiastic response, because their target users (the market) didn’t really want or need their product.
Sadly, the numbers don’t lie… over 90% of tech product-based startups fail in the first 2-5 years.
Here’s the truth…
If you want to build an App or other tech product that users love…
It starts by first understanding ALL the outcomes that your product (the solution) needs to deliver,
NOT by creating the list of features.
This is the Solution Requirements.
It’s the ‘WHAT’ your product needs to deliver, not ‘HOW’ it will deliver it.
Created to Simplify
Having a comprehensive Solution Requirements is like having a treasure map for designing features. With a clear list of outcomes, it’s simple to ensure that your features deliver exactly what is needed.
Not only will this result in a product that’s significantly closer to perfect from the get-go, but it will spare you the arduous and costly cycle of early pivots, rebuilds and re-releases that often plague startups, totally detailing initial traction.
Here are the 9 simple steps to help you create a comprehensive Solution Requirements to 10X the success of your new app at first release.
1 – Define the Problem Space
Spend time in the world of your target users to truly understand the core problems they face. Dive deep into their pain points, challenges, and unmet needs. Let their stories guide you towards meaningful solution requirements.
This is the foundation to crafting a solution (product or service) that truly caters to your target user’s needs and desires.
2 – Identify User Personas
Create detailed user personas that represent each segment of your target market.
These personas will help you identify and tailor the solution requirements to the specific needs, preferences and behaviors of each potential group of users.
3 – Prioritise User Goals
Identify the primary goals and objectives each user group will aim to achieve with your new product.
Then, prioritise these goals based on their significance and value for target users. This will enable you to guide the solution requirements towards outcomes that matter the most.
4 – Go beyond Obvious Outcomes
Conduct brainstorming sessions with your team to identify ALL the required outcomes, even any outliers. Recognise the pain points your solution needs to directly address for each individual target user group.
Consider how the product will make users’ lives easier, more efficient and more enjoyable… And how it might evoke positive emotions.
Focus on what’s needed to create a fun, seamless and engaging experience that leaves users feeling satisfied and fulfilled.
Additionally, identify outcomes that alleviate frustrations, reduce stress, and eliminate obstacles each user group face.
5 – Picture the User Journey
Map the user journey, starting from the initial ‘onboarding’, progressing to becoming an ‘active user’ and ultimately transforming into a passionate ‘advocate’.
Identify and outline each touchpoint, where your product can provide value and elevate the overall user experience.
Each touchpoint should align with a specific Requirement or Requirements.
6 – Know your Competition
Study each individual competitor to uncover gaps and opportunities in the market.
Then determine what unique outcomes your product can deliver to give it a competitive edge. Aim for a minimum of 5X better than the current most popular competitive solution.
Note: It is important to remember that any approach your target users currently employ to solve the problem is essentially a competitor. This even includes manual systems or processes.
7 – Cross-Functional Collaboration
Don’t go it alone… Aim to gather insights from diverse expertise. Ideally, this should encompass sales, marketing, technical, and operational as a minimum.
Furthermore, it is helpful to ensure all relevant stakeholders are included in the process. Each perspective can contribute to a well-rounded set of requirements that address all aspects of delivering genuine value to users.
8 – Real-World Validation
Share your preliminary list of solution requirements with a select group of target users.
Gather their feedback and insights and ask yourself this question… Do your requirements resonate with their needs and expectations? Are there additional outcomes that need to be included?
9 – Refine and Prioritise
Take time to review all user feedback and refine your solution requirements where needed.
Then, go ahead and prioritise each requirement by assessing its individual impact on the target user’s goals and needs, as well as the feasibility and alignment with your product’s core vision.
After that, revamp your Solutions Requirement document and, for good measure, revisit steps 8 and 9 at least once to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
The Ultimate Feature Filter
The goal is to create a comprehensive list of requirements that details every outcome to be delivered by your product.
Your new Solution Requirements is the ultimate tool for determining the features that should rock your product and how they work to deliver all the specified outcomes.
Moreover, they will clarify the process for your developers, acting as a blueprint for precisely what needs to be delivered by each feature in the set.
Testing and Validation
Additionally, they’ll prove immensely valuable in your testing and validation phase.
When specifying a Minimal Testable Product (MTP) or Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you can simply filter the outcomes and only include those that deliver the core value for your target users and which are crucial to your product’s success.
During the preliminary MTP or MVP testing phases, you’ll have the distinct advantage of easily validating features, by comparing the actual user responses against your expected outcomes described in the solution requirements.
Building a Solution Requirements before designing the product feature set is a crucial step when developing a tech product with high appeal at first release.
Not only should it address functional outcomes, but also the emotional and experiential value to be delivered to each type of target user.
It’s the ‘WHAT’ your product needs to deliver, not ‘HOW’ it will deliver it.
Here’s the process:
- Understand the Problem Space
- Identify each Target User Persona
- Prioritise your Target User’s Goals
- Go beyond the Obvious Outcomes
- Map Outcomes to the User’s Journey
- Know your Competition
- Include Cross-Functional Input
- Seek real-world Feedback to Validate
- Refine and Prioritse all Requirements
By investing some time building a comprehensive Solution Requirements, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
They are the ultimate tool for designing a fully considered feature set for your MTP, MVP and First Release Product that will be highly valued by your target users from day one.
Get ready to experience early traction and fast-tracked commercial success!
I’ll be delving into why you should focus on solving a single problem exceptionally well rather than fall into the trap of creating an all-in-one product that attempts to solve multiple problems… If you haven’t yet, subscribe here so you don’t miss out.
This week’s Action Steps:
Whether you’re an individual with a great idea, a small team or a leader at an existing organisation, I promise that investing time into building Solutions Requirements before trying to imagine how your product’s features will work is a total game-changer!
Obviously, the steps listed in the newsletter above are self explanatory; however, to complete this process effectively, you’ll need a one key resource…
Step One: Your Target Users
Identify and write a description of the people you are building the solution for and who you will target when your app goes live.
Step Two: Where do they Hang?
List all the places they hang… This is both physically and digitally. Do they have common interests, members of specific groups or go to a specific location?
Step Three: Connect
Discover how best to connect with your target users. Ideally, begin to build a ‘community’ of your target users before starting product design…
This group is not only crucial during the Solution Requirements phase, but they’ll also serve as your go-to resource for surveys, interviews, testing, early adopters, and even your very first advocates.
In coming weeks and months I’ll be covering how to choose the best battle-tested strategies for your project and implement efficient processes to fast-track results.
Be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss out.