Listen to your customers, not your ego

In the excitement to build a new product, teams rush to the finish line without stopping to validate the assumptions that led to funding the product idea in the first place. Even when teams apply an agile delivery method (e.g. scrum), and are able to course correct because work is visible and delivered in smaller chunks, we consistently see teams ignoring the fundamental question they are tasked with: are we building the right thing?

The product failure rate is 48%, according to R.G. Cooper in his book “Winning at New Products”. 

In my experience, one of the most common reasons for product failure is solving for a non-existent customer problem. Put in another way, it’s about not taking the time to identify a target customer, and validating whether the products will solve their unmet or underserved needs.

Customer interviews are one method to validate your existing assumptions about the product. These interviews don’t have to be a significant investment of time or resources, and can be as lightweight as talking to 3 customers or internal users to validate your key hypotheses. By validating your assumptions during product creation, it will help you stay on the path toward building the right thing.

How you phrase your questions will impact the answers you get. Here are some tips for framing your questions to get the most out of your research session.


Like these tips? Download The Lean Product Guide for practical methods to build viable products your customers love.