How to Build a Product in 99 Days (Podcamp Toronto)


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Our slide deck from Podcamp Toronto hosted on February 26, 2011. Presentation was 45 minutes with Q&A.

Shared our process on building a product successfully with constraints. Topics included:
* Getting started quickly
* Establishing structure
* Creating a team
* Defining the problem
* Planning an approach
* Executing a build
* Finding the minimum
* Acknowledging mistakes
* Launching a product

Learn more about this event at or #pcto2011.

Contact us anytime @skanwar, @drupeek or

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How to Build a Product in 99 Days (Podcamp Toronto)

  1. 1. How to Build a Product
in 99 Days"February 26, 2011Podcamp Toronto@skanwar@drupeek
  2. 2. - You k - Andrew Pee Whatever You Do- Satish Kanwar" Jet CooperJet Cooper RocketrTask Ave. O LeanCoffeeTTEDxTorontoLeanCoffeeTO
  3. 3. Disclaimers"Terms and conditions of what you learn.•  There are no best ways, just better ways•  Practice is greater than theory•  It never stops changing
  4. 4. Setting Context"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses, to join…
  5. 5. Define ʻstartupʼ"A startup (product) is a team in search for a repeatable, scalable business model. – Steve Blank
  6. 6. Define ʻbusiness modelʼ"A business model is how something makes, gives and gets value. – Alex Osterwalder
  7. 7. Define ʻvalueʼ"The value is what customers are willing to pay for. – Someone
  8. 8. Le Format"We think that a digital product can be created in 99 days-ish.
  9. 9. Survey"Pick less than two, please.1.  I’ve made a product2.  I’m making a product3.  I want to make a product
  10. 10. DAY"-27"
  11. 11. Get started, quickly"How to structure experiments.•  Adding constraints•  Lean startup methodology•  Live or die by its own merits
  12. 12. DAY"-19"
  13. 13. Establish structure"How to set expectations.•  Define parameters (time, budget)•  Define systems (legal)•  Define goals (revenue!)
  14. 14. DAY"-6"
  15. 15. Create a team"How to find the right people.•  Round out the team•  Advisory boards•  Support groups
  16. 16. Motivations"Why are we doing this?•  Setting expectations•  Interests > Skills•  What’s a win?
  17. 17. Test"Test test•  Business models
  18. 18. DAY"0"
  19. 19. Define the problem"How to articulate what you’re doing.•  What’s really grinding your gears?•  What is the opportunity?•  What is the hypothesis?•  Who has this problem? Use cases•  What is my business model?
  20. 20. Test"Test test•  Business models
  21. 21. DAY"11"
  22. 22. Plan an approach"How to get your blueprint.•  There is no strategy, only a hypothesis•  Make more decisions, more often•  Create iterations, make pivots
  23. 23. Familiarity vs. Adaptation"Agile vs. Waterfall (and back again).•  Does this feel right?•  Project planning does not equal project reacting•  Frequency of communication is paramount
  24. 24. DAY"16"
  25. 25. Execute, execute, execute, execute, execHow to actually build stuff.•  Customer development principles•  Design to test hypotheses faster•  Develop in what you know best
  26. 26. Test"Test test•  Business models
  27. 27. Product: “It has to achieve this”
Design: “OK, we can suggest this”
Dev: “Sure, but we should consider this”
Customer: “Got it. What do I do next?”"
  28. 28. DAY"25"
  29. 29. Find the minimum"How to ask yourself the right questions.•  Set the foundation first•  Add operations in the right order•  Callout each individual assumption•  Are you moving with or against the currents?
  30. 30. DAY"41"
  31. 31. Acknowledge mistakes"How to justify your pace.•  Fail fast, but minimize how far you fall•  Pick your battles according to expertise•  Saying “no” is okay. Saying “no, because” is better.
  32. 32. DAY"72"
  33. 33. DAY"99"
  34. 34. Launch, please"How to stop wasting time.•  Ship…•  Tweet…•  Have a scotch…
  35. 35. Done"From that day forward, you still have a lotof figuring out to do.
  36. 36. DAY"118 "
  37. 37. Get back to work"How to keep spending time.•  Talk about the product•  Make asks of the customer•  Now it’s time for a strategy
  38. 38. For example, in 99 days…"We completed a product at 15% of plan.•  We spent $9,917.56 to get to market•  We made 759 git commits over 99 days•  We had 3 heated debates about a feature being MVP•  We lost 30 days from using square pegs in round holes•  We did 7 iterations - 2 over 30 days, 5 over 7 days•  We made it here with a business model – March 7 rollout
  39. 39.