Steve Blank’s Customer Discovery Checklist

descarga (30)Customer Discovery involves three phases:

  1. Preparation before leaving the building
  2. What I’m supposed to do when leaving the building?
  3. What should I do with the information I have captured?

Phase 1: Before leaving the building

  1. Pre-plan contacts:
  • Plan in advance who you want to contact and come up with at least 100 names so you have plenty of opportunities to validate your ideas.
  • Organize the contacts to be face-to-face or through Skype so you can get additional information from body language and have the possibility or answering questions from your contact.
  • Make a last open question “What should I have asked you?”; this will allow the other person to provide you with valuable hints regarding the problem you’re trying to solve.
  • On trick to get meetings with people is starting with a line like “Hi, my name is X, and I’ve been told you’re the smartest guy in the business, could I take 20 minutes of your time?”.
  1. Dry-Runs:
  • Practice with your co-founder or employees the Customer interviews so you master them before addressing the real customers.
  1. Discovery is for Founders:
  • Customer interviews must be done by the founders, because you’re not only trying to validate the hypothesis surrounding your ideas but also during the course of the interviews you will have the chance to iterate or pivot if the information provided by the Customer indicates you should pursue a different direction.
  1. Pass / Fail experiments:
  • Prepare pass / fail experiments to validate your hypothesis making bets to yourself regarding the results you will get from the Customer interviews e.g. I bet the ideal customer is a woman between 30 – 40 years with two children.

Phase 2: Outside the building

  1. Be aggressive:
  • You must be aggressive in the Customer interviews so you can push them to release valuable information.
  1. Conducting a Customer interview:
  • Introduce yourself and state what you are looking for.
  • Explain that the main goal for you is to understand how their business works and how you can improve it.
  • Keep it casual to make it less formal and more open.
  1. Customer interview flow:

– Let the conversation flow, take care that you’re covering your key questions but allowing Customer to take control of the conversation and address other topics which could be useful or interesting.

  1. Sizing the opportunity and market size:

– The key goal of the customer discovery is to validate the hypothesis behind the product/market fit i.e. to check that we really know what the Customers are and that our value proposition covers their needs.
– Seize the opportunity: it is important that we estimate properly the market size so assuming everybody in the market buys our product, how big is that?
– What are our competitors in the market? If we are in a market where there are competitors we need to understand how we will differentiate ourselves from them. If there are no competitors that means that there are not yet any customers.

  1. Finding patterns:

– You need to find hints in the information received from the interviews as there may be hidden patters that you can exploit in your product / service.
– Perform interviews until you start hearing the same patterns / information once and again; that would mean that you’ve already understood the real problem.

  1. Looking for insights:

– When talking to Customers you have to grasp the insights of the market e.g. too bad you’re not doing X, Y, Z because none of the competitors do that.

Phase 3: Returning to the building

  1. Finding Early evangelists:

– In Customer discovery you’re looking for early evangelists, people who see your product even better than you do.

  1. Communicating your discoveries:

– Before communicate to your development team you need process the insights and make clear what the messages are.
– Communicate regularly with your development team on the collected data to get feedback from your team.

Further reading

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Excellent analytic and problem solving skills. Passionate about software development and turning data data into products / actionable insights.

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