Alomst a year ago I joined the Lean Startup Machine workshop in Amsterdam. At that time the Validation Board was used during the workshop. It looked very impressive but using it in practice I prefered the Lean Canvas with the approach from Ash Maurya described in Running Lean over the Validation Board.

The validation board.

But in practice it is quiet struggle. Ash tried to solve it with his Lean Stack approach which is an extension on the Lean Canvas. The Lean Canvas is the business modeling, the Lean Stack is the Business Model Validation part. In other words, the experimenting part.
Business Model Validation to Business Model Generation (Source:

The Lean Stack approach looks nice in first view but when I want to use it was a little much to be fixed and doesn’t contain enough brainstorming. And more important, in practice I see the (early) startups struggling because they never focused to reach a customer-problem fit. It is most important to have a good tool for that. I discovered that Lean Startp Machine have evaluated their Validation Board to the Javelin Experiment Board.

The Javelin Experiment Board looks very promising and I will start testing it in my next project.

Javelin Experiment Board

In the following video’s the The Javelin Experiment Board is explained:

The base for the Javelin Experiment Board, actually for all Lean Startup methods is forming a hypothesis. The hypothesis is creating an idea in the way that it’s easy to test. The reason to do this, is that most entrepreneurs have very big ideas so you need to break them down to test them.

Hypothesis are broken down in three types:

  • customer
  • problem
  • solution

In the javelin experiment board is he on the right side of the brainstorm area on the left side is he the excute area.

Summarized you need to define following:

  • Who is your customer? Be as specific as possible.
  • What is the problem? Phrase it from your customer’s perspective.
  • Define the solution only after you have validated a problem worth solving.
  • List the assumptions that have to be true, for the hypothesis to be true.

You start with the Customer and the problem. If you combine them you have the Customer Problem hypothesis. Solution will come later.

The Customer Problem hypothesis is in my opinion the forgotten by almost all entrepreneurs who are starting a company.

FIRST of all you need to Understand the problem of the customer.
REMEMBER the following:

  • Every customer has a problem
  • Every problem has a solution
  • Not every solution has a problem
  • Not every problem has a customer

The assumptions are what you believe that have to be true in order for the hypothesis to be true.

To form a Customer/Problem hypothesis:
I believe my customer has a problem achieving this goal

To form a Problem/Solution Hypothesis:
I believe this solution will result in quantifiable outcome

To form your assumptions:
In order for hypothesis to be true, assumptions needs to be true.

To identify your riskiest Assumption:
The assumption with the least amount of data, and core to the viability of my hypothesis is… By reducing the risk is something first you reduce the time to come to the most important part of your business.

Determine how you will test it:
The least expensive way to test my assumption is…

Determine what success looks like:
I will run experiment with # of customers and expect a strong signal from # of customers.

The javelin experimental board you can use the following methods:

  • Interview: Get out of this from potential customers
  • Pre-sell (Pitch): Tell something before you actually have it
  • Concierge: Manually deliver the service to your customer.

My opinion you can use MVP methods. All idea’s are welcome as long as they are lean.

Overall the Javelin Experiment Board seems to be a big step forward, especially in finding Customer Problem fit.

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