Lean at NYU ITP Syllabus 2015

Syllabus For Lean at NYU ITP

Instructors: Jen van der Meer, Josh Knowles
Days and Times: Mondays, 6:30 PM-9:00 PM
Location: ITP NYU 721 Broadway at Waverly, 4th Floor Room A/B
Text: Business Model Generation

We embrace a creative, iterative, and collaborative approach to making things — but launching a product out into the world takes a somewhat different set of skills. How does one make sure people want to use what they make? How does one create a business plan to support the idea? Is the idea strong enough to turn into a job — or a career? Enter Lean LaunchPad, at NYU ITP – the experiential course in entrepreneurship.

Based on Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad and the NYU Summer LaunchPad Accelerator, we are applying the curriculum developed at Stanford and Berkeley for the NYU community. This course has been developed with support from the NYU Entrepreneurship Initiative, and aims at mixing the best of the methods from the Lean LaunchPad methodology with the best of ITP’s methods. Over the spring semester, student teams participate in an iterative approach to startup development, a combination of business model design + customer development + agile development.

Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation is used as the basic framework for business model development, and we utilize UX methods and tools to ground students in an understanding of how to successfully move through the early stages of product development. Students work in self-formed teams of 3-4 to develop their business model and product/service over the course of the semester. The primary focus of the course is the work of customer development, speaking directly to potential customer to help define opportunities that the startup is designed to solve, and early stage product development. The ITP curriculum will augment the LeanLaunchpad method with additional approaches from design thinking, UX, and ethnography to accelerate the understanding of both explicit pain points and more latent or hidden challenges that people face, in their jobs and their lives.

Participants from the NYC Venture Capital community and leading successful startup entrepreneurs will serve as mentors and advisors to student teams. The course is open to all enrolled NYU students.

Grading criteria:

15% Participation in class, giving feedback to your peers.
40% Progress in customer development interviews (out of the building)
20% Lessons learned weekly presentation and class blog
25% Final lessons learned report

Class Schedule:

Dates updated to accommodate Blizzard Juno.

Part 1: Business Model Canvas

  • Week 1: Monday, February 2, 2015: Business Models and Customer Development
  • Week 2: Monday, February 9, 2015: Value Proposition and UX Tools and Frameworks

Note: Monday, February 16, 2015 is President’s Day

  • Week 3: Monday, February 23, 2015: Customer Segments, Research Tools
  • Week 4: Monday, March 2, 2015: Revenue Streams, Distribution Channels, Product Definition
  • Week 5: Monday, March 9, 2015: Customer Relationships and Partners, Product Development

Note: Monday, March 16, 2015 is Spring Break

Week 6: Monday, March 23, 2015: Resources, Activities, and Costs, Product Development

Part 2: Iterative Development

  • Week 7: Monday, March 30, 2015: Continue Customer Development, UX/UI Part 1
    Week 8: Monday, April 6, 2015: Continue Customer Development, UX/UI Part 2
    Week 9: Monday, April 13, 2015: Continue Customer Development, Product Development
    Week 10: Monday April 20, 2015: Continue Customer Development, Product Development
    Week 11: Monday, April 27, 2015: Product MVP Completed
    Week 12: Monday, May 4, 2015: Lessons Learned

Class roadmap:

Each week’s class is organized around student presentations on their lessons learned from getting out of the building and iterating or pivoting their business model, with comments and suggestions from other teams, and teaching team. We’ve combined methods from LeanLaunchPad, and will be augmenting with UX methods as we move through agile development and launch..

Part 1: Business Model Canvas

  • Week 1: Monday, February 2, 2015: Business Models and Customer Development

Intro to teaching team, ground rules, expertise. How this class is different from Lean LaunchPad at the NYU Accelerator.

What is a business model, and business model components. What are guesses vs. facts? What is the minimum feature set? What experiments are needed to test business model hypothesis? What is market size? How do you determine whether a business model is worth pursuing?

We’ll then have each team present the business model canvas developed, and develop another version in class as we go deeper into the definition of addressable market size.

We’ll also review starter ideas about how to do customer interviews and overview of interview methods and customer research methods.

Assignment for week 2, prep for Monday February 9, 2015:
Alexandar Osterwalder on Business Model Canvas Video
Read: Business Model Generation pp. 14-49.
Video Lecture: Value Proposition
Talk to at least 5 potential customers. Post first discovery narratives on your team blog.

Prepare a presentation – guidelines below:
· Cover slide
· Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
· Market size (TAM, SAM, Target Market)
Total addressable: how big is the universe
Served available market: how many can I reach with my sales channel?
Target market: who will be the most likely buyers?
· Propose experiments to test your value proposition. What constitutes a pass/fail signal for each
test?

Week 2: Monday, February 9, 2015: Value Proposition and UX Tools and Frameworks

What Is your product or service? How does it differ from an idea? Why will people want it? Who’s the competition and how does your customer view these competitive offerings? Where’s the market? What’s the minimum feature set? What’s the market type? What was your inspiration? What assumptions drove you to this? What unique insight do you have into the market dynamics or into a technological shift that makes this a fresh opportunity?

In class brief lecture on how to construct a value proposition.

In class we’ll also review basic user experience design tools and practices.

Teams will present a refined business model canvas, and update us on learnings and experiments from customer development interviews.

Assignment for week 3, prep for Monday February 23, 2015:

Watch Customer Segments lecture.
Business Model Generation, 126-145.
The Founder’s Dilemma (HBR) and optional – The Founder’s Dilemma Noam Wasserman (Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast)
The Lean UX Manifesto by Anthony Viviano
Talk to at least 5 potential customers. Post discovery narratives on your team blog.
Prepare a presentation – guidelines below:

  • Cover slide with your names, and concept
  • What hypotheses related to your value proposition and segments did you test last week. What did you validate. What did you invalidate.
  • Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
  • Updates to Market size (TAM, SAM, Target Market)
  • Proposals for next week’s experiments. What constitutes a pass/fail signal for each test?

———Note: Monday, February 16, 2015 is President’s Day there is no class———-

Week 3: Monday, February 23, 2015: Customer Segments, Research Tools

Who’s the customer? User? Payer? How are they different? How can you reach them? How is a business customer different from a consumer?

As a part of answering the above questions, teams will need to begin designing their products. Designing for user experience should be the primary goal — and each team should be alert to questions about their product which they will need customer input to answer. If you don’t know the answer to a design challenge or have split opinions, note it as a possible customer question.

-Assignment for week 4, prep for Monday, March 2, 2015:

Talk to (while observing non verbal cues) at least 5 customers face-to-face (optional: Survey Monkey to get more data).
Watch Lecture 4: Distribution Channels – take the quiz
Read Business Model Generation: 146-179

Presentation for post break:
· Cover slide
· Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
· Updates to Market size (TAM, SAM, Target Market)
· Results of last weeks experiments. What passed, what failed, what did you learn?
· Proposals for next week’s experiments. What constitutes a pass/fail signal for each test?

Week 4: Monday, March 2, 2015: Revenue Streams, Distribution Channels, Product Definition

What’s a revenue model? What types of revenue streams are there? How does it differ on the web versus other channels? How will you package your product into various offerings if you have more than one? How will you price the offerings? What are the key financials metrics for your business model? What are the risks involved? What are your competitors doing?

What’s a channel? Direct channels, indirect channels, OEM. Multi-sided markets. B-to-B versus B-to-C channels and sales (business to business versus business to consumer).

At this stage we are going to put more boundaries around early stage product definition. Many of your groups will already have done some development work by this point, but in order to efficiently build your products, you will need to have a product definition that you stick to. This can change, of course, but you should reach the point where your product design only changes for demonstrable reasons, not on whims.

Assignment for week 5, prep for Monday, March 9, 2015:

Watch Lecture Customer Relationships—take the quiz
Watch Lecture Partners
Read: Business Model Generation 180-225
Talk to 5 or more customers face-to-face, Survey Monkey if relevant. Post discovery narratives
Presentation:
· Cover slide
· Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
· Updates to Market size (TAM, SAM, Target Market)
· Results of last week’s experiments. What passed, what failed, what did you learn?
· Proposals for next week’s experiments. What constitutes a pass/fail signal for each

Optional Reading: Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz overview.

Week 5: Monday, March 9, 2015: Customer Relationships and Partners, Product Development

How do you create end-user demand? How does it differ on the web versus other channels? Evangelism versus existing need or category? How do you get, keep and grow customers? General marketing, sales funnel, etc.

Who are your partners? Strategic alliances, competition, joint ventures, buyer supplier, licensees, industry organizations. What does it mean to participate in a startup ecosystem? The NYC vs. Bay Area discussed.

Each group will also, this week, define a plan for product development. How do we hit beta by the end of the semester? What technologies will we use? What features do we include or lose due to time constraints? In what order do we build so we can use our in-development product as a part of our customer conversations?

Each group will also, this week, define a plan for product development. How do we hit beta by the end of the semester? What technologies will we use? What features do we include or lose due to time constraints? In what order do we build so we can use our in-development product as a part of our customer conversations?

Assignment for week 6, prep for Monday, March 23, 2015:

Watch Lecture on Activities, Resources and Costs
Read: Business Model Generation 226-261.
Presentation:
· Cover slide
· Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
· Results of last week’s experiments. What passed, what failed, what did you learn?
· Proposals for next week’s experiments. What constitutes a pass/fail signal for each?

————-Note: Monday, March 16, 2015 is Spring Break there is no class————-

Week 6: Monday, March 23, 2015: Resources, Activities, and Costs

In week six, we complete our tour of the Business Model Canvas with Resources, Activities, and Costs.

What resources do you need to build this business? How many people? What kind? Any hardware or software you need to buy? Any IP you need to license? Are there benefits to not raising money from outside sources? How and when should you think about raising money? What are the alternatives to raising money, and the sources? We discuss the importance of cash flows in any business, or not-for-profit. When do you get paid versus when do you pay others?

This week we will also hear proposals for the product that each team will take to MVP during the second half of the class. Please be as precise as possible given what you’ve learned during the first half of the class. We will use this to make sure you’re planning on building something that you actually have the resources (time, etc) to produce in six-ish weeks. We will also use this to specify the criteria you’ll need to reach in order to do well in the class.

Assignment for week 7, prep for Monday, March 30, 2015:

Meet with your mentor and Josh and/or Jen before the next class to talk about the logistics of your product. We will help identify your needs and help figure out a development schedule for the remainder of the class.

Assemble a resources assumptions calculation (google spreadsheet will suffice), including people, hardware, software, prototypes, financing, etc., and determine when will you need these resources, at what time in the first year? For physical product projects: Get real costs from suppliers – Bill of Materials. In short: Be prepared to be specific about what you’ll need to meet your goals.

Know the different between product, the user interface (UI), and the user experience (UX): http://edlea.com/blog/product-ux-ui-cereal/ — we will go into detail after the break.

Assemble a resources assumptions calculation (google spreadsheet will suffice), including people, hardware, software, prototypes, financing, etc., and determine when will you need these resources, at what time in the first year? For physical product projects: Get real costs from suppliers – Bill of Materials.

Optional Reading: Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz overview.

Presentation for post break:
· Cover slide
· Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
· Updates to Market size (TAM, SAM, Target Market)
· Results of last week’s experiments. What passed, what failed, what did you learn?
· Proposals for next week’s experiments. What constitutes a pass/fail signal for each test?
· Present a topline revenue and cost forecast for the first 2 years.

Part 2: Iterative Development

The second half of the class is set up for iterative product development, with continued customer development. We have done a full tour of the Business Model Canvas, and we will iterate assumptions and findings as we move through development. At this stage the support provided and experiments chosen will start to depend significantly on the needs of each individual team. We will select outside experts and invite advisors to address key needs of the project team, to be determined as we move forward to launch the MVP.  

Week 7: Monday, March 30, 2015: Product Development: User Experience and User Interface Design

After your presentations today we will hear a presentation about how product design, user experience design, and user interface design fit together and we will do a quick workshop on designing for your products.

Assignment for week 8, prep for Monday, April 6, 2015:

Continue to build your MVP.

Talk to 5 more customers (or equivalent analytics test of assumptions).

Presentation for post break:

  •    Cover slide
  •    Clear description of product
  •    Latest version Business Model Canvas with changes marked
  •    New perspectives from customer development
  •    Development update: What you did last week, what you’re going to do this week, and how this fits into your overall plan to have an MVP at the end of class.

Note: This will be your assignment for the next four classes, as well. So we’re not going to repeat it over and over below!

Week 8: Monday, April 6: Product Development: User Experience and User Interface Design, Part 2

After your presentations today we will continue workshopping your design documents.

Week 9: Monday, April 13, 2015: Customer Development, Product Development

After your presentations today we will set aside some time for general workshopping. Please be prepared with any design questions, business concerns, or technical issues you’re having. Remember, as well, that Josh is always available outside of class to help work through technical issues, if you need more time.

Week 10: Monday April 20, 2015: Customer Development, Product Development

Repeat the above and talk about opportunities for your products after the class wraps, including what students have done in the past.

Assignment for week 11, prep for Monday, April 20, 2015:

Prepare 30-minute presentation of your MVP product. There should be two parts:

  • A preliminary pitch-style presentation explaining the product in a polished and convincing way, explaining who you’re designing the product for, what problems you’re trying to solve, the size of the market you’re looking to address, and your business model. Show off as much of the MVP as you can. Remember that clarity and confidence are important, here.
  • A summary for the class of where you’re at, what you’ve learned, and what you need to accomplish in this final week to have a truly stellar presentation in front of our guests next week. During this time, please be frank about any problems you might be having or anything you might not be feeling confident in so we can help you out.

Week 11: Monday, April 27, 2015: Customer Development, Product Development

Assignment for week 12, prep for Monday, April 27, 2015:

Prepare your final 30-minute presentation of your MVP product

  • A polished pitch-style presentation explaining the product in a polished and convincing way, explaining who you’re designing the product for, what problems you’re trying to solve, the size of the market you’re looking to address, and your business model. Show off as much of the MVP as you can. Clarity! Confidence!

Week 12: Monday, May 4, 2015: Final MVP + Lessons Learned Product Presestations

All teams deliver a 30 minute presentation with advisors and mentors in full attendance. Impress them with your brilliant ideas! Show them your amazing work!

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