Developing A Product For Launch – Don’t Use A Business Plan!

I am sure many of you have written a business plan to prepare for your product’s launch.

Writing a traditional business plan for a new product is predicated on many hypotheticals and “what if” scenarios.

They don’t always take into account the chaotic nature of the marketplace. They can also take a very long time to write.

How do we account for the type of unexpected changes and reactions that may occur when a product enters the market? What if we could save a ton of time in the planning stages?  
It’s possible if you change your approach to building products.  
What if I told you that there’s a new type of business plan that takes into account the changes and reactions that occur in the marketplace? It’s also a plan that is fast to implement.

It’s called the Lean Stack Process, here’s how it works.


An Introduction To The Lean Stack Process

Here is an overview to how this process works.

The first step is to write a condensed business plan called the Lean Canvas. Then, you share that plan with your team members and get feedback regarding possible risks or concerns they might have related to the product.

Next you will run an experiment with a test group of customers and write up a predictive outcome for that experiment.

You have to pick either quantitative or qualitative metrics that can measure your customer’s reaction to your product or prototype.

Using these metrics you are now able to measure the potential success of your product quickly and before you hit the market. If your product is successful then you can proceed with constructing your launch.

If it’s not then you can run more tests and make adjustments to your plan. You will need to re-do the steps above as outlined and try again.

The process is flexible and is always subject to change. That is what is so great about using the Lean Stack.  

The Lean Canvas

The Lean Canvas is an extremely condensed version of a business plan. It is one page and consists of 9 blocks you fill out. These blocks consist of information like the traffic channels you use, how you make profit, your cost structure and revenue stream assumptions, as well as any present advantages you have in the marketplace.

Filling these blocks out will give you a better understanding of the current state of your product. You’ll be able to better identify areas of risk to account for later.

You can visit to get a printable version you can fill out.

Getting Feedback From Team Members

Once you have filled out the Lean Canvas you’ll want to get feedback from team members or mentors on the plan you outlined on the canvas. This is the time to assess for risks and discuss how you are going account for problems, changes, or reactions to your product.

Outline risks that might affect you in the short term and risks that will affect you in the long-term. This will allow you to better plan for the testing you will be doing in the next step.

Make a Hypothesis

Remember in science class when you would have to come up with a hypothesis prior to a lab experiment? You are going to have to do the same thing when testing your product in front of your prospective customers.

You will want to write a predictive outcome.

Think about what will probably happen when your customers interact with your product.

Also keep in mind the risks you discussed with your teammates, think about how these will affect the outcome.

Make sure when testing that you choose metrics which can measure the success of your product. It can be either qualitative or quantitative. The type of metrics you use is based off what you feel is the best fit for your product.

Once you have ran your initial test and gathered your results you will want to adapt to the feedback. If the customer reactions indicate success, you can go forward with your launch. You may still need to make some adjustments along the way.

If the tests don’t go well then you may need to go back and rethink your product and then re-test. This is the beauty of the Lean Stack Process you can adapt to changes and continually test and improve your product.

Action Steps

  1. Fill out the Lean Canvas.
  2. Fill out all 9 blocks.
  3. Identify risks with your team members. Think of short term and long term factors.
  4. Set up a predictive outcome for your experiment
  5. Choose Qualitative or Quantitative metrics to measure your customer’s reaction to your product.
  6. Run the experiment and measure the results.
  7. Adjust and repeat as necessary.


Result You Will Achieve

A process to test assumptions about your product prior to launch that allows you to quickly judge its interaction with the market and gives you an iterative method to adjust to the feedback.
Mentor: Ash Maurya

Creator & Founder at LEANSTACK. Helps entrepreneurs raise their odds of success.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.