A Collaborative Lean UX Research Tool: The Rainbow Spreadsheet
A full how-to guide including a template and example, by yours truly.
Need to Know: Evaluating Startup Ideas
My newest General Assembly class: Need to Know: Evaluating Startup Ideas, is offered for the first time on May 13, 2014, at 5:30pm in NYC.
ABOUT THIS CLASS
Many startups and businesses are being founded based on a hunch, a judgment call, incomplete information, and faith-based hallucinations — and most of them fail miserably. Startup founders and business owners only then ask themselves why. This class takes a different, risk-mitigating, more scientific approach to the art of starting a business. You’ll learn how to develop a product people really need by uncovering these needs well in advance. Before you write one line of code, before you hire a large team, before you take a big risk, you’ll learn how to evaluate if people need your product through three activities to learn from your future customers.
- Know what problems need to be solved.
- Find out what a landing-page test is good for.
- Gain a basic understanding of the Experience Sampling research technique.
- Discover the power of observation to understand human behavior.
- Be able to make sense of collected data to make an idea evaluation decision.
Why the Lean Startup Changes Everything?
A Harvard Business Review article by Steve Blank.
Video: Don’t Listen to Users, Sample Their Experience!
Uncovering user needs is one of the most challenging aspects of product development. Oh-so-many organizations develop beautiful products and services nobody needs. The Experience Sampling Method is a simple research technique for uncovering user needs. In a typical Experience Sampling method, research participants are interrupted several times a day to note their experience in real time. During this 27-minute talk, held at the LeanUX Researchapaloozafest event at Spotify in January 2014, I demonstrated the method, described how it has been applied at Google Search, and provided a short, practical how-to guide.
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Who made me want to write another book
Writing a book is no easy task. For me, it’s probably the hardest work I ever did. I love planning a book and I just love the feeling of holding it in my hands. I find anything in between to be extremely challenging, frustrating, and just really, really hard.
So what made me want to write yet another book?
In a very positive way, I hold the following people responsible:
- Janice Fraser, Co-founder and first CEO of Adaptive Path, currently co-founder at LUXr. It all started for me after attending MX 2011 and hearing Janice talk titled, Crushing the Boulder: User Experience and the Lean Startup. This talk introduced me to the world of Lean Startup. I was amazed, happy, and excited to learn about what’s going on with startups. In the UX world I lived in until then, startups were a big no-no for UX people. Jared Spool asked me in his special, funny way, “Why would you want to work with startup founders? They already know everything!” Janice’s talk changed my perception.
- Eric Ries, father of the Lean Startup movement and author of The Lean Startup book. I interviewed Eric for my first book and hosted his talk at Google New York. What happened during the interview and his talk made me want to help entrepreneurs and people in other product development organizations.
- Laura Klein, author of UX for Lean Startups and a Lean UX and research expert. Laura’s book and a few conversations we have had, made me more confident that the topic is worth pursuing.
- Startup founders I mentored who implemented the lean user research techniques I shared with them increased my passion and drive for the book.
But the one person that kicked my butt was Steve Blank. I met Steve in mid 2012 at his ranch in California to interview him for my first book. We spent a good 3 hours discussing startups, research, user experience, Israeli army, unit 8200, and my idea for my next book. Steve’s response to the idea behind the book had only one word. “Congratulations!”
That’s all I needed.
Fast forward to a bar in Oslo, Norway in September 2013. Lou Rosenfeld and I discuss the book idea while attending the Webdagene conference. That was the final push and here I am taking this exciting journey again.
Lean User Research for Product Development. Congratulations.
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Lean User Research on Google Plus
Since I published my first book two years ago, I shared information and resources related to getting stakeholder buy-in with UX research on a Facebook page and Google Plus page. As I became interested in Lean Startup and lean user research, I started including information about it in these pages.
Today, I’m separating the two.
I will continue to share UX Research Buy-in materials in the above-mentioned pages, and starting today, I have a dedicated Google Plus page for for all-things-lean-user-research.
“We know exactly what our users need.”
“Our product solves a problem we have.”
“My sister told me she’d definitely pay for my app.”
“Why do people sign up, then not use our product?”
In many conversations I have had with startup founders and product owners in the past year, I heard very confident individuals who ask themselves great questions about their users. I learned they are answering these questions in unreliable and invalid ways. Most people who are involved in product development don’t do any user research. When they think they do, they are doing it wrong.
Many product developers skip user research completely because they perceive it as a burden, something that is only suitable for academia, costs a lot of money, takes a lot of time, and requires hiring a costly consultant. Others, affected by the Lean Startup movement, think user research means A/B testing.
Lean User Research is going to change these perceptions.
I’m excited to announce a book which will provide knowledge, tools, and techniques for running basic research people can complete quickly on their own. It is not going to be about the “right”, robust, heavy research methods, but about small-scale, good-enough practices for better informing design and product decisions.
The book is targeted at:
- People involved in product development – designers, developers, engineers, product managers, startup founders, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs.
- C-level executives who wish their organizations improve how they learn from users or customers.
- Newcomers to the UX world.
- International audiences who struggle with reliable, accessible resources about lean user research techniques.
The book will introduce 9 questions people who participate in product development ask about their audience. Each book chapter will provide step-by-step instructions on how to answer a question with lean user research techniques.
The book will be published in 2015. Until then, I will share snippets and other relevant materials on this website. Please join me in this exciting journey. I can’t wait to hear about your expectations and, later on, feedback.
Validating Product Ideas Blog
Through Lean User Research
Posts written by Tomer Sharon