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User Story Mapping by Peter Economy, Jeff Patton

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Chapter 15. Using Discovery for Validated Learning

I’ve misled you. Sort of.

Some of you may have been reading the last chapter, and other chapters before that, and you’ve been slowly reaching a boiling point because you know what I’m leaving out. Sorry about that.

The stories I told about MadMimi.com and Globo.com are both incomplete. The truth is that both of them used discovery conversations to identify what they believed was a minimum viable solution. But whether those solutions were actually viable or not was just a guess. In fact, all this stuff is a guess until we actually ship and observe what the market—our customer and users—actually does. Initial discovery conversations, along with story maps, helped them get to a good starting guess. But, for both of them, it marked the beginning of a much longer journey to really discover a viable product.

This leads me to one of the biggest mistakes people make, and that’s actually believing their minimal viable solution will be successful.

We’re Wrong Most of the Time

I’m as guilty as the next guy in believing my great ideas will be successful. The truth is that in the past I released lots of solutions I thought would be wildly successful, but they just weren’t. They weren’t dismal failures, either—they just didn’t make much of a difference. When this happened I, and my company, learned to look the other way. It wasn’t just me. We all thought the features we were adding would be valuable. But in the end we’d added a feature a few people ...

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