July 11

Customer Discovery

Customer discovery is not a hopeless quest for people to buy your product. It is a treasure hunt of sorts where you’re looking to uncover a better understanding of a problem people would like to solve. This collection of resources suggests ways you can uncover those problems and find a way to solve them so that you can bring a nice little treasure back to your business.

A 4 step guide to building the right product for the right customers. Does customer discovery involve walking around city streets asking people if they will be your customer? Sort of. It’s the process of talking to customers early on your business development process to question and disprove your business assumptions. Ethan Adams shares four steps you can use to research your idea but remove as much bias as possible. You’ll still find yourself asking around, but the answers you get will be much more useful.

(via @UpAndAdams)

The customer discovery handbook. When you work on your product, sometimes your mission is to learn, other times your mission is to scale. The key is to know when you need to learn and when you need to change your focus to earning. Alexander Cowan wrote this guide to customer discovery to help you identify the questions that need answering and pairing them with just enough of the right kind of research.

(via @cowanSF)

How startups should do customer discovery. “Teams that build continuous customer discovery into their DNA will become smarter than their investors, and build more successful companies.” Steve Blank explains how one of his students used continuous discovery to focus on “what provides immediate value for Earlyvangelists and add complexity (and additional value) later.”

(via @sgblank)

How to know when you’re done with customer discovery? You’ve perfected every detail of your customer discovery process through three rounds of interviews, and now you have a dozen interesting people giving you the insights into our product that you were looking for. Does that mean you are done with the customer discovery process? Tristan Kromer explains why the short answer is “yes with an if” and the long answer is “no with a but”. He goes on to describe the elements of a complete customer discovery process?

(via @trikro)

Customer Discovery: 5 Key Lessons from Product Leaders. Your main goal is to build a product that customers want. You could “come up with an idea, write a business plan, build the product, launch it, and then see what happens.” And realize that your customers didn’t need that product. Or, you could run experiments and iterate throughout the product life cycle via a customer discovery process. The folks at This is Product Management shared customer discovery strategies and techniques from Bob Dorf, Teresa Torres, Noopur Bakshi, Dan Martel, and Melissa Perri.

(via @tipmpodcast)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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