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How you achieve Problem Solution Fit

Problem Solution Fitness
New products are inherently hard to launch because both the problem and solution are unknown.

Eric Ries

Before you set yourself on the quest of generating and testing the „right“ solutions for your customers it sounds like a great idea too, first of all, understand that very „right“ problem. Whether it is a business environment or end-consumer segment, — your customers do not wake up in the morning dreaming of having that awesome new gadget or a new super convenient service for cleaning their apartment.

Problem Solution Fit : What it's actually about

For startup founders and entrepreneurs, for large companies, multinationals, and even freelancers problem-solution-fit means the search or development of new original or unexpected solutions on a case-by-case basis with the primary purpose of being able to put themselves in the shoes of their customers and develop a better understanding of customers’ views and needs. When such a solution is found, and a company comes up with an approach that from various perspectives represents a game changer for customers we can say this is the case of a problem-solution-fit.
However, if companies skip the testing of the Problem-Solution Fit they came up with, they will risk landing in the situation where nobody wants their solution, which is rather sad given the amount of time and finance put in.

Your product comes later

IWhen we enter the stage of Problem-Solution-Fit assessment we do not engage in testing some specific product ideas, — it is yet too early for a product. It’s all about testing whether the kind of solution itself looks attractive. It's enough to describe the value proposition you came up within a few sentences without features and technical details. Keep it as simple as possible.

This simple diagram illustrates the way how Eric Ries, one of the founders of Lean Startup methodology, formulates the strategy for Problem-Solution-Fitness:
1. Do people actually have the problem that I assume they have?
2. How do they deal with their problem now?
3. Does my solution make a meaningful difference?

Forces of Progress

In their natural environment of the day-to-day life, consumers’ decisions and views are often predetermined by their character types, which to you, as a company and a marketer; seem rather obscure, because you can’t know what’s in their heads. Below you will find a clear picture illustrating the magic 4 Forces of Progress.

These forces for progress are the emotional forces that generate and shape the needs of consumers for a specific product. These forces can be used to better describe and understand the high demand from customers towards certain solutions with JTBD (Jobs to-be-done, tasks to be completed) or demand for some specific product.
There two groups of forces that work against each other while forming consumer demand. The first group is Push and Pull. These are any forces that stick together to generate demand. The other group is Habit and Anxiety. This is the combination that reduces demand. Your customer is in the middle, and your customer is experiencing this emotional mess.

Ash Maurya from LeanStack has managed to develop a wonderful working basis of Customer Forces Canvas in order to achieve structured progress in creating Problem-Solution Fit for her business. It suggests additional extended areas along with the Customer Forces which first exist only as assumptions, but in the process can be quickly substantiated through a series of problem-solution interviews.



Interviews on how to deal with Jobs to-be-Done and the related challenges of finding the energy to go further can be effectively approached with the following structure.



The interviews that allow adjusting the possible solutions to the harsh reality environment and the same time harvesting feedbacks may be used to build the following structure.

Customer Empathy Mapping is one extremely valuable method supporting the Problem-Solution-Fit. You can read more about how simple-to-use and awesome tool the Empathy Map is and how it works in our article “What customers want".

Now it's your turn

Your way to Problem-Solution-Fit is the process that is greatly influenced by your interaction and dialogue with your (potential) customers. You have already learned about some simple and effective tools that will help you on your journey.
If you and your team are curious to find out more about this topic you can contact us.

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André Wehr
André Wehr
As a founder and entrepreneur, I experience every day how important Traction and Customer Centricity is. It makes the difference between a nice idea and a viable business.

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