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Enhancing Your Problem Hypothesis

Watch Alex Cowan to learn how to enhance your problem hypothesis.
In the last video we looked at how to think through your persona hypothesis and create an interview guide that will help you go talk to real users, real customers. In this video, we’re going to look at how to do the same and supplement that interview guide with questions that are specific to the problem hypothesis. What are the specific problems and alternatives that your customer is grappling with today, or your user if it’s an internal project. And this is where we’re going to get at this second element of our product hypothesis, our sort of over or feature if you’re doing an individual feature.
So, the idea here is the same format, and I will mention this again just so it’s not confusing. These questions will probably look and feel a little bit repetitive, and you do not need to make sure that you ask all of them if you feel like you’ve gotten great information back from the questions you’ve already asked of a subject, that allow you to understand problem scenarios and alternatives. So, here is a kind of throw away. How do you currently operate in doing HVACs? And the other thing you can do here is start to echo back, hey, here’s what I heard about what a typical job looks like.
So we want to make sure if we haven’t gotten to it yet that we’re diving into
execute in our area of interest. How does Trent the technician find out about a new job, get there, see if he’s prepared or not, engage with the customer, go do the work and then close the work and do whatever he needs to do to invoice it. We want to make sure we get at that entire journey there. And then we ask, and again, this is going to be repetitive with some of the questions we’ve already asked, that’s okay. What’s hard? What’s annoying about doing these HVAC jobs? And maybe they’ll tell us more, maybe they’ll remember other things at this point.
And here’s an even more leading version of that question which you should freely skip if you don’t think you need it. But you may find that if you’re not getting everything you think the subject has to give you, asking okay what are the top five hardest things? Then you’re leading them to say that there should be certain things, and they’re going to maybe be a little bit more inclined to make an inventory of that for you. And then this is where we get at another facet of the problem scenarios which is, where do they see themselves headed?
This is really, really important as we diagnose motivation and kind of triangulate through all these different questions, what they really actually care about and why? So that again, we can derive the things that are valuable to them. What are the top 5 things you want to do better this year in your work as an HVAC technician?
If it’s learn how to do service on a certain kind of equipment or get more fluent in a diagnostic tool, those are all things that are probably going to be pretty important to us in this situation as we figure out how to automate and standardize the dispatch and basically everything that HVAC In a Hurry does and where we’re going to be able to be valuable in that. And then, okay, this is the ultimate leading question. If we think that a certain problem is important and we didn’t hear about it from a subject, at the very very very end, we can certainly ask them hey, I thought that I heard getting parts out on a job is really hard?
Why wasn’t that on your list? And you’re leading them, obviously, at that point, but at the very end it doesn’t really matter that much, and you can just see what you get at that point if you feel confused or you feel curious with regard to this question. So you’ll see this done. We’ll sketch this out on the Google doc together as well, but this is a good way to put together a rough set of questions which you should freely iterate on and edit so you have a nice clear view of how to go out and talk to real users and understand what’s going to be valuable to them.

In this video, Alex explains how to supplement your interview guide with questions that are specific to your problem hypothesis.

If you would like to read the text version of the material that Alex covers during these videos- please feel free to access it below:

The Customer Discovery Handbook: Persona and Problem Hypothesis

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