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
Table of Contents
- Praise for Lean Customer Development
1. Why You Need Customer Development
- The First Challenge Is Inside the Building
- What Is Customer Development?
- What Is Lean Customer Development?
- What Customer Development Is Not
- Why You Need Customer Development
- Answering Common Objections
- Let’s Make This Work
- Next Step: Get Started
- 2. Where Should I Start?
3. Who Should I Be Talking To?
- How Can I Find Customers Before I’ve Even Built a Product?
- The Importance of Earlyvangelists
- Three Things That Motivate People
How Can I Find My Customers?
- Ask Your Connections for Introductions
- Casting a Wider Net
- How Should I Conduct My Interviews?
- Following Up
- Interview Troubleshooting
- Next Step: Get Ready for Customer Development Interviews
4. What Should I Be Learning?
- Get Started with These Customer Development Questions
- Customers Don’t Know What They Want!
What You Should Be Listening For
- What’s the Customer Already Doing?
- What Constraints Are Holding Customers Back?
- What Frustrates (or Motivates) Your Customer?
- How Your Customers Make Decisions, Spend Money, and Determine Value
- Next Step: Get Ready to Do Your Customer Development Interviews
5. Get Out of the Building
- The Practice Interview
- To Record or Not to Record?
- Taking Great Notes
- Immediately Before the Interview
- The First Minute
- The Next Minute
- Keeping the Conversation Flowing
- Tangents Happen
- Avoiding the Wish List
- Avoiding Product Specifics
- Going Long
- The Last Few Minutes
- After the Interview
- Get Out (Now!)
6. What Does a Validated Hypothesis Look Like?
- Maintaining a Healthy Skepticism
- Keeping Organized Notes
- Rallying the Team Around New Information
How Many Interviews Do You Need?
- After Two Interviews: Are You Learning What You Need to Learn?
- Within Five Interviews: The First Really Excited Person
- Within 10 Interviews: Patterns Emerge
- How Many Interviews Are Enough?
- After Enough Interviews You Stop Hearing Things That Surprise You
- What Does a Validated Hypothesis Look Like?
- Now What?
7. What Kind of Minimum Viable Product Should I Build?
- What Should My MVP Do for Me?
- MVP Types
- Pre-Order MVP
- Audience Building MVP
- Concierge MVP
- Wizard of Oz MVP
- Single Use Case MVP
- Other People’s Product MVP
- We’ve Built an MVP, Now What?
8. How Does Customer Development Work When You Already Have Customers?
- Adapting the MVP Concept
- Finding the Right Customers
- Customers Say the Magic Words
- Once You’ve Found Your Customers, Explain, Explain, Explain
- The Storytelling Demo
- Incognito Customer Development
- Show Me How You’re Using Our Product
- Here’s How to Use Our Product
- It Can Work For You, Too
- 9. Ongoing Customer Development
A. Questions That Work
Questions for Any Customer Development Interview
- Tell me about the last time you ___
- If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about how you [perform this task], what would it be?
- What tools do you use for _____?
- When you started using [tool], what benefit were you expecting?
- How often do you do _______? Let’s say, how many times in the past month?
- When this occurs, how much additional time or money does it cost you or your company?
- Who else experiences this problem?
- When you do (or use) ______, is there anything you do immediately before to prepare?
- Would you be willing to help us by participating in user research or beta testing?
- Questions for an Existing Product
- If It Works, Keep Asking It
- Questions for Any Customer Development Interview
- About the Author
- Title: Lean Customer Development (Hardcover version)
- Release date: May 2014
- Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
- ISBN: 9781449356354