Using the Lean Canvas to Track the Product Hypothesis

I recently came across a presentation from Stanford University that suggested students of E145 use the Lean Canvas tool when beginning their startup business model journey. Of course we all have worked with the business canvas model (if not have a look here), but as a product person I had never thought to use the canvas model in the prototyping and pilot phase of a product. I thought I’d share my adaptation of the lean canvas so you may better validate key findings which later become the drivers for your value proposition.

Product Hypothesis Lean Canvas

Create better product hypothesis using a Product Hypothesis Lean Canvas

Note to color coding: Green/Validated, Yellow/Assumption, Red/Invalidated


The canvas below uses the principles of the business model canvas. One area that I have changed is the middle block from Value Proposition to Key Finding. I did this because as we worked with customers with prototypes I realized we were collecting valid hypothesis on their needs and pain. Instead of calling these value propositions at this stage in the game I found it better to document the key findings and attempt to validate or invalidate as we tested with customers.

When findings are validated across multiple groups we can them form a hypothesis around these that drive the value proposition in the business canvas. At this point we can save all validated field and begin testing this these final assumptions and key value propositions by repeating the process.  

If you are looking for some more canvas tools here are a few that may help:

Lean Canvas – from Lean Stack – Lean Canvas is the top choice for entrepreneurs, universities, accelerators, and groups inside big organizations.

Steve Blank – startup tools – Steve wrote the book that launched the Lean Startup movement.

Wikipedia – Business Model Canvas – and while you are on Wiki its a perfect time to make a donation!

Agile Leadership: Trust vs. Control – Scrum Inc

I came across this simple visual example of a complex adaptive system, a scrum, on Scrum Inc’s blog and wanted to share it you. Follow the link at the bottom to read the whole post.

Exerpt: I Listened to Spotify enterprise coach and Agile thought leader Henrik Knieberg’s keynote and loved his analogy on Trust vs. Control. He uses the concept of traffic regulation, specifically a traffic circle vs. an intersection controlled by a stop light.

Trust leads to control. It doesn’t work the other way, controlling behavior results in a lack of trust and trust is the essence of Agile leadership.

Source: Agile Leadership: Trust vs. Control – Scrum Inc

A Transition to Agile

Over the next several posts I will begin to write about the transition to agile, written from the guiding position of a “scrum master”. Since this group is not strictly a team of only software developers and the project is not strictly setting out with a goal to write software, the posts will be about the process of how the team is modifying agile to fit the a product development circumstance

Jack be agile


To align with sprint iterations planned in a span of 2 weeks the blog posts will keep to a pattern of release/iteration planning and demo/acceptance criteria/retrospective. I hope to share insights and best practices that have been discovered during this process so they can be applied to your own agile product management projects.

“At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” – Principles behind the Agile Manifesto

And naturally this post about Agile would not be complete without a reference to the original  The Agile Manifesto.  

Some Agile reading available here:

Online Agile learning resources here: – free resource that explains the basic framework, roles and key patterns of Scrum – Jeff Sutherland, the inventor of Scrum, is a charter member of the Scrum Patterns group. He is the author of most of  these Scrum PLoP® patterns — patterns he teaches to get teams off to a good start, and to get great teams to a hyperproductive state  – CA Technologies Agile Central has a lot of great articles and tools for agile teams.

Gifts for the product manager/owner

Planning Poker Cards – Mountain Goat Software offers Planning Poker® cards for your use in estimating.

Mountain Goat Software offers Planning Poker® cards

Mountain Goat Software offers Planning Poker® cards