Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lean Problem Interviewing

Lean Coffee was hosted today by mad scientists in white lab coats (ie. the Big Bang Technology crew).

We talked about the Problem Interview and various tips & techniques, such as:

  • Keep a "perimeter" -- don't go too far outside the topic
  • Who/Where/What/When/Why questions (from journalism)
  • Why validate?
    • Are there any customers?
    • Assumption: Your plan A won't work
    • No validation = no repeatable sales process
  • Beware of confirmation bias: Tendency to seek the answers you want to hear
  • Problem interview vs. Solution interview (very different)
  • Remember: Can pivot around the business model, solve different problems
  • Do you need a script? Helps keep things on track - vs. map or outline
    • But more open-ended discussion lets you discover a lot more
  • Customers are like kids -- easy to lead them, and have them agree with things they don't actually want
  • Should be a conversation, not a formal interview
  • They'll tell you the symptoms -- you need to determine the problem
  • Keep doing the interviews until you know what the answers are going to be
  • Problem: Looking for what's "broken"
  • Important: What people say vs. what they do is often very different
  • Methodology doesn't prevent you from still missing the mark on a "must have" problem
  • Failed products lead to the next one -- always learning
  • Answers change in different contexts -- anonymously vs in a group (observer effect)
  • Maximize the comfort level to get honest answers
  • Warm them up: Ask about themselves, make environment safe
  • Technique: Parrot back responses
    • Lets them confirm, helps them feel more comfortable
  • Discover people's motives
Another great session!

Next week I'm going to be in Orlando on business (I know, poor me) so hopefully someone else can take a few notes.

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