Ask the experts
None of us know everything. To help fill our knowledge gaps we will interview a series of experts who are close to the problem. These could be customers, potential users, potential industry partners etc. These sessions are focussed and short. They are designed to root out the problems, pit-falls and important features we may otherwise miss in a group discussion,
- Estimated time needed: 2 hours. Spend 15-30 minutes with each expert. Take plenty of breaks between each to finish off notes and digest the information.
- Team: Facilitator, Note-taker, Stakeholders: If the sessions are recorded it is possible for some people to watch them back later but at least two people are required to participate along with the expert.
Why should we do this exercise?
Experts will help you to understand the problem you are trying to solve and they may even show you a different more pressing problem to tackle. Speaking with experts and potential customers and really understanding their pain points is key to creating a useful product that people will need and buy.
- Contact experts in your field in advance of these sessions. These could be customers, potential users, potential industry partners etc. Try to arrange them to speak with you over Zoom on the same day (or within a day or two of each other).
- Send calendar invites to all the Team who will be involved in the interview.
- Have a list of burning questions you would like to ask the expert.
Read our tips below to help you conduct your interviews well.
- Make ‘How Might We’ notes as we listen.
- Have one person asking the questions and another listening, watching the clock and taking notes.
- Ask the expert if it is ok to record the interview. Having a recording is a great way to go back over conversations to see if there is anything you missed and to generate follow-up questions.
- Try to avoid asking yes/no questions. Instead aim for open ended questions designed to keep the expert talking and to gain insight. Rather than asking "Do you like the gym?" try something more like "Tell me about your relationship with exercise?". With the latter, the expert might bring up something you had never even thought to ask about.
- Listen rather than speak. Try to follow the 90 / 10 rule where you listen 90% of the time and only speak for 10%. This is a reconnaissance mission where you are trying to learn as much as possible and you cannot learn if you are the one talking!