Dan Olsen & Lean Product Playbook


Thanks to Gail Giacobbe, am exposed to Dan Olsen’s work on Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback. The book is available here. It presents a clear framework.


The process to achieve product-market fit

The builds the intuition for the lean product process. Do have the question of whether we start with underserved needs or target customer since customer portraits are fundamentally humans with needs to different degree. For instance, everyone has the need of transporting from one place to another but with different demand on the time needed to access the vehicle will result in “uber customer” and “customer who owns a private car”.

Market ( problem space ) vs Product (solution space )

【why, not start with the solution space 】here is an example from the book “when NASA was preparing to send astronauts into space, they knew that ballpoint pens would not work because they rely on gravity in order for the ink to flow. One of NASA’s contractors, Fisher Pen Company, decided to pursue a research and development program to create a pen that would work in the zero gravity of space. After spending $1 million of his own money, the company’s president, Paul Fisher, invented the Space Pen in 1965: a wonderful piece of technology that works great in zero gravity.”

【why start with the problem space】

“Faced with the same challenge, the Russian space agency equipped their astronauts with pencils. You can actually buy a “Russian space pen” (which is just a cleverly packaged red pencil). This story shows the risk of jumping into the solution space prematurely and the advantage of starting in the problem space.”

Human needs stay the same.

When new technology is developed, users/buyers segments adopt the new tech in the following way.

The top needs don’t matter if the bottom needs haven’t been met yet.

Persona Attributes:

  • Name
  • Representative photograph
  • Quote that conveys what they most care about
  • Job title
  • Demographics
  • Needs/goals
  • Relevant motivations and attitudes
  • Related tasks and behaviors
  • Frustrations/pain points with current solution Level of expertise/knowledge (in the relevant domain, e.g., level of computer savvy)
  • Product usage context/environment (e.g., laptop in a loud, busy office or tablet on the couch at home)
  • Technology adoption life cycle segment (for your product category) Any other salient attributes


How painful is the need ( problem ), how frequent it happens

need to identify the underserved needs: needs that aren’t yet filled.

GAP = importance — satisfaction

Opportunity Score = importance + MAX ( importance (pain intensity * how frequent the pain occurs) — satisfaction , 0 )

Opportunity Value Delivered = Importance * Satisfaction

Opportunity to Add Value = Imporatnce * ( 1- satisfaction )

Opportunity to Add Value to exsiting product = Importance * ( satisfaction-before minus satisfaction-after)


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