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  6.10. Pre-Test: Develop a Minimum Feature Set (4 min.)

After completing the "Nail the Pain" phase, you should have some facts about the monetizable customer pain and the Big Idea Hypothesis. The next step is to get more detailed about the actual solution by creating a hypothesis about the Minimum Feature Set (MFS). So how do you know if you have the proper Minimum Feature Set? This can be challenging because your customers may ask for dozens if not hundreds of features. There are three general rules to follow.

1. Look for the key themes in the conversations you have had with customers so far. Focus on the areas that customers repeatedly discuss and try to avoid the temptation to develop something cool but non-essential.

2. Ask your customers. You can assess or even rate the degree to which a feature is central to solving the core customer pain, but you can also ask customers which one feature matters the most to them. Focus groups, surveys, A/B testing, and other quantitative metrics have their place and can be helpful, but they can't replace the value of talking directly to customers.

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3. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Despite your desire to add features, focus on the absolute core features. If a feature isn’t absolutely critical, leave it out. If you're struggling to keep it simple, use this trick: assign the features you're wondering about to the next version of the product, and you will be mentally freed up to focus on the essential ones.

If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to download the following interview guide, which will help you with customer conversations as you go through the Nail It Then Scale It process.

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 99-102)

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