Lean Inception, User Research and A/B tests
Here is a great question I´ve received about Lean Inception, User Research and A/B tests
Question: Should I use User Research or A/B test for deciding upon new features? How does this relate to Lean Inception?
Answer: This is a great question, in fact one that often shows up during the Lean Inceptions workshops.
If the product does not exist, not even a MVP, your only option is User Research. You should interview your potential users to build the feature they desire. I wrote User Research, but this have different names for different people: discovery, User Research, UX Research, ideation, inception, etc. The only name I don´t use is Lean Inception as it has a different purpose.
But if you are in the process of either evolving an existing product, or starting a new one, then you should decide which feature to build and which to A/B test. Anyway, this answer is on your MVP plan, which is a result of the Lean Inception workshop.
As a result of the Lean Inception, the team will have decided (1) which feature should be in that MVP (this is the very minimum necessary to get started), and (2) which features require more learning, we should explore the options (because you want to gather data to make better informed decisions). For (2) A/B test is very appropriate. But make sure you have a good user base to get the amount of traffic to make the learning results useful.
The main difficulty, many groups do not run Lean Inceptions (the purpose is to align people about the MVP) to have these decisions with everyone in the room: business, UX and tech. Therefore, such decisions and discussions happen later in the game without a good alignment and understanding from all parts.
So, answering your question – “Should I use User Research or A/B test for deciding upon new features?”:
You should schedule a Lean Inception to align people about the MVP. On your MVP plan the team will have answered such question for the specific features.