Launching your first minimum viable product is an exciting journey, you're eagerly waiting to see if it will achieve product-market-fit. I launched my product Hyre today on Product Hunt you can check it out here. Regardless of the success of the product, here's what I learned by building Hyre.
Hyre has been a project which was still in its ideation phase a few months ago, it started off as my third-year design project for my university coursework. The initial idea for Hyre was to be a hiring platform exclusive to the software industry. I had a lot of feature ideas and built version 1 of the product with my friend Bonnie but it didn't take off. Here's what went wrong!
- I didn't understand the core user problem
- I did not validate the hypothesis I was working on - I didn't even have a hypothesis
- Metrics? um, what is that?
Around last year I started learning about product management through books like Lean Startup, Hooked, and through communities like Product School. Around April 2021 I thought why not incorporate product management methodologies in my side projects.
The Problem and the Hypothesis
I understood that for any minimum viable product the first step is to understand if the problem we are trying to solve exists. I had a lot of ideas for Hyre but I decided to focus on one single user persona, "Alex the second-year computer science student" and one single problem - "Alex does not know how to find internships". My current hypothesis that I'm trying to validate is "If I provide a curated list of internships then Alex can find internships easily"
The Minimum Viable Product
To validate my hypothesis I decided to create a product that can solve the user problem. Using Gridsome (I love Gridsome) I developed a website that pulls data from an Airtable source to display internships that students can apply to. Using Netlify to host the website and Zapier to rebuild the site and deploy it so that I don't have to manually deploy the site every time the database changes. The MVP has just two basic features its a job board and a form to add jobs to the website! Shout out to Zapier for making everything so easy!
Understanding that the success of my MVP will depend on the metrics that I track, I integrated Mixpanel Analytics into Hyre. Choosing my North Star metric as the "number of users who viewed the job board and came back to apply for an internship" helps me validate if Hyre is helping students find internships! Another metric that I'm tracking is a funnel of "users who view the job board and then apply for a job", this metric along with user interviews will enable me to improve the user experience of the product.
My priority is to validate the hypothesis "If I provide a curated list of internships then Alex can find internships easily". Once that's validated I'd do a bit of user research to work on prioritizing features for the next iteration. If my hypothesis is false user research again to understand why. Build, Measure, and, Learn!