Customer feedback & product development

Framework for getting customer feedback actionable towards a market oriented product development. By Michael Sippey.

Most important rule: speak to your customers every day. Literally! Every. Single. Working. Day. Speak with them. Learn from them.

3 key lessons:

#1: Have a minimum of 30 meetings, otherwise the product won’t be good enough. Michael even shared a framework for those meetings:

Framework for customer feedback
Source: Getting in the van

After presenting how you would/will solve the problem, ask for the customer’s feedback on that solution. A good segway to that is to invite them to join a beta program and start digging into costs.

#2: “Get in the van”. Meaning, assemble your team and have them at the meeting with the customer. “You’ve got to have your lead engineer, your lead QA person, your lead support person, and the sales person with you at all of these meetings.”. Having your team listening to you telling them what’s the problem is one thing. Having them listening to the customer telling them the same thing is completely different. The team needs to understand they are working to answer these three questions: “What problems are we solving? Who are we solving them for? How are we going to measure success?

After the meeting, score how it went. Here’s a framework for that:

Source: Get in the van

#3: Focus on their problem, not selling your solution. At the end of the day, you are developing something to address their problem. So use that feedback to guide your requirements. “The common thread, though, is that we spent too much time thinking about features, and not enough time thinking about the problems that we’re trying to solve.

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