Interviewing Customers

We all know how to interview but how well do we know how to ingest the information. My mom is in her late 80s and when she tells me on the phone that she had a fall yesterday it is different from when she fell 5,10 or fifteen years ago. When we are five or fifteen a fall is a scraped knee. When we fall at 70 it is a recorded event, when we fall at 85 it is a flight of stairs and a potential symptom, broken hip or bad day. Interviewing for customer problem is not that different. One operations user observation is not an enterprise problem. On the other hand an executive perception may not be aware of a user work around. Context, it is all about Context! It is critical to keep your ideas out and not lead clients as we all know, recently I had a new one hit me directly. Using known clients and friends seems like a great way to reach product market fit until. So for years I have worked with boards in non-profit and for profit boards helping them build processes that allow them to be agile in their response and leadership. I focus on a derivative of the Carver methods that begin with a problem statement that describes the issue first then moves directly to an end statement allowing the team to determine the means or build a compelling case to alter the ends statement. I began to build a tool that would help them do this on line as well as keep the process in place after I left them. All went well until the experience of using the tool captured all comments in a permeate record! Wow, now thing got real! Their comments were in a compliant record and it scared them. It seems the concept and tests were fun, the real discussion on issues was not! Context extends to the real issues. So learning, testing and doing can be different. Who and what is affected? Is your MVP real to the tester or user, is there a training period to learn and perhaps long term what seems like a cycle saver has a productivity cap. We try to see everything but life always reserves the right to shock, this makes it fun!

Tim Bates