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
Chapter 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
Chapter 2 Where Should I Start?
Exercise 1: Identify Your Assumptions
Exercise 2: Write Your Problem Hypothesis
Exercise 3: Map Your Target Customer Profile
Next Step: Find Your Target Customers
Chapter 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?
How Should I Conduct My Interviews?
Next Step: Get Ready for Customer Development Interviews
Chapter 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
Next Step: Get Ready to Do Your Customer Development Interviews
Chapter 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
Avoiding the Wish List
Avoiding Product Specifics
The Last Few Minutes
After the Interview
Get Out (Now!)
Chapter 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?
What Does a Validated Hypothesis Look Like?
Chapter 7 What Kind of Minimum Viable Product Should I Build?
What Should My MVP Do for Me?
Audience Building MVP
Wizard of Oz MVP
Single Use Case MVP
Other People’s Product MVP
We’ve Built an MVP, Now What?
Chapter 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
Cindy Alvarez is a product manager who turns understanding the customer into competitive advantage. Currently the Director of User Experience and Product Design for Yammer (a Microsoft company), she has worked with early- and mid-stage startups as well as Fortune 500 companies to make customer development an ingrained part of company culture and product development process.