What new capabilities should we build/not build, now?

Your challenge: 

What creates the most value - for this release?  

How do you align your team's efforts to the value customers perceive - and more importantly, will pay for?  

When you are deep into a project, especially a complex project with lots of moving parts, technologies, and different team skills types, it's a tough challenge to know what your team should be building now and what your team should create later.  

And, even for the things that you do build, it is often an even tougher challenge to know how much you should emphasize what you do need to create.  Do you wonder; 

  • Am I investing too much or too little in this part of the offering?

  • What part of this effort should I emphasize - should I “gold-plate” – to win?  

  • Will customers really see value here?

  • Can I cut back on "polishing" some of these – with no real negative effect? 


Your situations:  focus on what?  where?

With time constraints, fuzzy targets and lots of options, it is tough to know what your team should build – now.  And market feedback often doesn't help as it's challenging to get and often unclear and even contradictory.

What you do: guess and go, or “peanut butter”

Since you're not highly confident about where to focus you make your best guess and move quickly.  Sometimes you have a sage leader that have intuitive insights and helps teams wrestle with these challenges. 

Often for the capabilities that your team does create are resourced in the "sandwich model” - equally spreading resources - like peanut butter on a sandwich - across the project evenly.  But this guarantees that you will have two error modes - risking a market flop and taking too long to launch by NOT  emphasized what should be and overbuilding what should not.

And you also hope the Agile and Lean cycles will give you the insights you're looking for - but often they don't, since the reason for why a new offering flounder is so unclear.  


What you want to do is:   

  • Cut what you don't need, now – with this release, even if you may need it later  

  • Emphasize and “gold plate” what will help you win in the market - the things that will help make a difference - what your team is uniquely good at creating and will give your offering a competitive advantage

  • Save time and resources by not overbuild the things we don't need to - deemphasize capabilities that just have to be there - but the market does not value.

  • A. Sequence your key decisions

    1. Know your top risk

    2. Decide to target the people most likely to adopt your new offering

    3. Decide on the top customer goals and roadblocks

    4. Decide how your team can delight

    5. Align effort to value

  • B. Creat new perspectives for each

    For each point, use the best practice to help the team see the challenge in a new way, with a new language, perspective:

    1. Use Anoff to understand your growth strategy, risk profile

    2. Target not only by demographics but psychographies - e.g. Gateway Adopters for new markets and/or new offerings

    3. Use the Value Prop Scratchpad to create a coherent vision

    4. Use Market Fit Fast to identify the team strength that could delight

    5. Identify your Minumum Compelling Offing and align work to value 

  • C. Validate - quickly cheaply, early

    Focus and mitigate your top risk: 

    • Know the risks that most endanger your project

    • Engage the right people - the right psychographic profile - to mitigate the risk

    • Validate compelling - the target people's top goals, roadblocks

    • Early, before you make big bets

    • Use lightweight models like Gateway Adopter Vision Teams to use this engagement as customer development 


    Emulate the success best practice of  breakthrough innovators, Gateway Adpoters  


Create Compelling in 5 steps 


For this frequent challenge - you can break down key components into simple, addressable components - so that you can quickly define and validate a compelling, differentiating offering.  

First, focus your efforts on the projects' biggest risk type.  For most new projects this is a typical value prop vs. other risk types like usability, technical performance or Go-to-Market.   

​Define a precise, very granular vision - your hypothesis - for a release that would be compelling for the people most likely to adopt your new offering. 

​Align your team's effort to create compelling, differentiating, winning offering 

​Validate concepts – early, cheep, before bigger bets, bigger risks


Define and Create Compelling - for the people most likely to adopt your new offering while mitigating your biggest risk, fast.  


Use these decision tools to emulate the same best practices that Gateway Adopters use to disrupt their own markets -  always taking risks, sequentially maturing, prooving new concepts that the mass-market follows. 


  • Focus on your biggest risk

    You will get the biggest impact for your efforts focusing on mitigating the biggest killer risk.



    Technical performance?



  • Know compelling

    for the target customer most likely to adopt your new offering.

    Focus on a precise target customer - not just the role that matches the risk - but also find the unique sub-niche within the market to start with. 

    Then through segmentation and customer discovery, determine what they value - what they find compelling - enough for them to stop what they are doing now and try something new. 

  • Align efforts to customer value.

    Leverage your competitive advantage. 

    Understand the types of value your team must and could create.


    Know what can delights customers - that others can't duplicate. 

    Leverage your team's skills to focus on what will differentiate our offering and delight your target customer

  • Validate your vision with  customer development 

    Use Lean, lightweight customer development to engage the precise target customer in a lightweight way.


    Focusing on testing your biggest risks


Seattle WA

425 444 2904



Free offer

Describe and validate your vision in a few succinct statements.

Get your free Value Prop Scratch Pad starter kit HERE 

©2020 by Gateway Adopters LLC