Lean Customer Development (Hardcover version)

Book description

How do you develop products that people will actually use and buy? This practical guide shows you how to validate product and company ideas through customer development research—before you waste months and millions on a product or service that no one needs or wants.

With a combination of open-ended interviewing and fast and flexible research techniques, you’ll learn how your prospective customers behave, the problems they need to solve, and what frustrates and delights them. These insights may shake your assumptions, but they’ll help you reach the "ah-ha!" moments that inspire truly great products.

  • Validate or invalidate your hypothesis by talking to the right people
  • Learn how to conduct successful customer interviews play-by-play
  • Detect a customer’s behaviors, pain points, and constraints
  • Turn interview insights into Minimum Viable Products to validate what customers will use and buy
  • Adapt customer development strategies for large companies, conservative industries, and existing products

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Table of contents

  1. Praise for Lean Customer Development
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
    1. Who Is This Book For?
    2. Who Can Practice Customer Development?
    3. How Does This Book Fit into O’Reilly’s Lean Series?
    4. Why I Wrote This Book
    5. What You’ll Learn
    6. A Word of Thanks
  4. 1. Why You Need Customer Development
    1. The First Challenge Is Inside the Building
    2. What Is Customer Development?
    3. What Is Lean Customer Development?
    4. What Customer Development Is Not
      1. Customer Development Is Not Just for Startups
      2. Customer Development Is Not Product Development
      3. Customer Development Does Not Replace Product Management
      4. Customer Development Is Not User Research
    5. Why You Need Customer Development
      1. How Do We Improve Our Odds?
    6. Answering Common Objections
    7. Let’s Make This Work
    8. Next Step: Get Started
  5. 2. Where Should I Start?
    1. Exercise 1: Identify Your Assumptions
      1. Ready? Set? Go!
    2. Exercise 2: Write Your Problem Hypothesis
    3. Exercise 3: Map Your Target Customer Profile
    4. Next Step: Find Your Target Customers
  6. 3. Who Should I Be Talking To?
    1. How Can I Find Customers Before I’ve Even Built a Product?
      1. Come On—Why Would They Talk to Me?
    2. The Importance of Earlyvangelists
    3. Three Things That Motivate People
      1. Helping Others Makes Us Happy
      2. We Like to Sound Smart
      3. Fixing Things Gives Us a Sense of Purpose
        1. Come with me on a trip to the DMV
    4. How Can I Find My Customers?
      1. Ask Your Connections for Introductions
        1. Would you introduce me to your friends who ...?
      2. Casting a Wider Net
        1. Finding people on LinkedIn
        2. Finding people on Quora
        3. Finding people on forums and private online communities
        4. Finding people in the offline world
        5. Using blog posts
        6. Using Twitter
        7. Not using Craigslist
        8. Using a landing page
    5. How Should I Conduct My Interviews?
      1. Visiting the Customer’s Home or Office
      2. In-Person Conversations in a Neutral Location
      3. Phone Conversations
      4. Video Chat or Call with Screen Sharing
      5. Instant Messaging
    6. Following Up
      1. Scheduling Phone Interviews
      2. Scheduling Face-to-Face Interviews
      3. Spacing Your Interviews
    7. Interview Troubleshooting
      1. What If No One Responds?
      2. Interview No-Shows
    8. Next Step: Get Ready for Customer Development Interviews
  7. 4. What Should I Be Learning?
    1. Get Started with These Customer Development Questions
    2. Customers Don’t Know What They Want!
    3. What You Should Be Listening For
      1. What’s the Customer Already Doing?
        1. Abstract up one level
        2. Focus on procedure, not outcomes
        3. Focus on the present, not the future
      2. What Constraints Are Holding Customers Back?
        1. Problem is not perceived as a problem
        2. Lack of awareness of what’s technologically possible
        3. Limited resources
        4. Cultural or social expectations that limit behaviors
      3. What Frustrates (or Motivates) Your Customer?
      4. How Your Customers Make Decisions, Spend Money, and Determine Value
    4. Next Step: Get Ready to Do Your Customer Development Interviews
  8. 5. Get Out of the Building
    1. The Practice Interview
    2. To Record or Not to Record?
    3. Taking Great Notes
      1. Invite a Note-taker
    4. Immediately Before the Interview
    5. The First Minute
    6. The Next Minute
    7. Keeping the Conversation Flowing
      1. Avoiding Leading Questions
      2. Digging a Little Deeper
    8. Tangents Happen
    9. Avoiding the Wish List
      1. Away from Features—Back to the Problem
      2. The Magic Wand Question
    10. Avoiding Product Specifics
    11. Going Long
    12. The Last Few Minutes
    13. After the Interview
    14. Get Out (Now!)
  9. 6. What Does a Validated Hypothesis Look Like?
    1. Maintaining a Healthy Skepticism
      1. Are They Telling You What You Want to Hear?
      2. Is the Customer Saying Something Real or Aspirational?
    2. Keeping Organized Notes
      1. Keeping Your Notes in One File
      2. Creating a Summary
    3. Rallying the Team Around New Information
    4. How Many Interviews Do You Need?
      1. After Two Interviews: Are You Learning What You Need to Learn?
        1. Components of a validated hypothesis
        2. What each interview should tell you
      2. Within Five Interviews: The First Really Excited Person
      3. Within 10 Interviews: Patterns Emerge
        1. Challenging the patterns
        2. No patterns yet?
      4. How Many Interviews Are Enough?
        1. Experience with customer development and industry
        2. Complexity of business model and number of dependencies
        3. Investment required to create your MVP
      5. After Enough Interviews You Stop Hearing Things That Surprise You
    5. What Does a Validated Hypothesis Look Like?
    6. Now What?
  10. 7. What Kind of Minimum Viable Product Should I Build?
    1. What Should My MVP Do for Me?
    2. MVP Types
    3. Pre-Order MVP
      1. Case Study: Finale Fireworks
      2. Use Cases
    4. Audience Building MVP
      1. Use Cases
    5. Concierge MVP
      1. Case Study: StyleSeat
        1. The initial hypothesis
        2. Starting on the MVP
        3. Expanding the hypothesis
        4. Ongoing customer development
      2. Use Cases
    6. Wizard of Oz MVP
      1. Case Study: Porch.com
        1. Hypothesis invalidated
        2. Minimum exceptional product
      2. Use Cases
    7. Single Use Case MVP
      1. Case Study: Hotwire
        1. Map-based search results on a shadow site
        2. Iterating on the MVP
        3. Revising the MVP to solve pain points
        4. The new site gains traction
      2. Use Cases
    8. Other People’s Product MVP
      1. Case Study: Bing Offers
        1. Roadblocks lead to pivot
        2. An opportunity to make deals easy for customers
        3. Keep learning from customers
      2. Use Cases
    9. We’ve Built an MVP, Now What?
  11. 8. How Does Customer Development Work When You Already Have Customers?
    1. Adapting the MVP Concept
      1. Nothing Broken
      2. Attractive but Fake
        1. Use a sketch
        2. Use a different domain
      3. More Viable than Minimum
        1. It’s different for startups
        2. You know someone cares
        3. A little beyond minimum: user complaints, but not frustration
        4. Watch out for those who can’t stop at minimum
    2. Finding the Right Customers
      1. How I Learned to Find the Right Customers by Finding the Wrong Ones
      2. Find the People Who Can’t Live Without Your Product
    3. Customers Say the Magic Words
      1. How Customers Lower Your Market Risk
    4. Once You’ve Found Your Customers, Explain, Explain, Explain
      1. You’re Asking Questions—Not Building Something
      2. Say It Again: This Is Exploratory
    5. The Storytelling Demo
    6. Incognito Customer Development
      1. Taking on a New Identity
      2. Talking to People Who Aren’t Customers
    7. Show Me How You’re Using Our Product
    8. Here’s How to Use Our Product
    9. It Can Work For You, Too
  12. 9. Ongoing Customer Development
    1. Who’s Already Out of the Building?
    2. Who Can It Be, Knocking at Your Door?
      1. Feature Requests
      2. Functionality or Design Issues
      3. Bugs and Errors
      4. Question of the Week
      5. Recognizing Bias
    3. Closing the Loop
      1. Collecting Information
      2. Sharing the Impact of Customer Development
    4. Now You’re Ready
  13. A. Questions That Work
    1. Questions for Any Customer Development Interview
      1. Tell me about the last time you ___
      2. If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about how you [perform this task], what would it be?
      3. What tools do you use for _____?
      4. When you started using [tool], what benefit were you expecting?
        1. The whole problem may not be solved
      5. How often do you do _______? Let’s say, how many times in the past month?
      6. When this occurs, how much additional time or money does it cost you or your company?
        1. Helping them quantify
      7. Who else experiences this problem?
      8. When you do (or use) ______, is there anything you do immediately before to prepare?
        1. Online bill pay is surprisingly manual
      9. Would you be willing to help us by participating in user research or beta testing?
        1. How asking this question helps with future product development
    2. Questions for an Existing Product
      1. When you use [our product], what’s the first thing you do with it?
      2. What’s the most useful thing that you regularly do with our product?
      3. If you had [requested feature] today, how would that make your life better?
      4. Other customers have told me that they experience [problem]...
    3. If It Works, Keep Asking It
  14. Index
  15. About the Author
  16. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Lean Customer Development (Hardcover version)
  • Author(s): Cindy Alvarez
  • Release date: May 2014
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781449356354