Review of Rob Fitzpatrick's Rob Fitzpatrick Book

I read Rob Fitzpatrick's Rob Fitzpatrick's book. In Russian, it seems it is not for sale anywhere else. You can buy it in English here:

Honestly, I did not expect much from the book. Well, in fact, what can you say about CustDev, problematic interviews and other lean gizmos? We speak with clients, do what they want, everything seems to be clear. However, the book pleasantly surprised. The topic is plowed so deeply that after reading and some practice, you can read the trainings yourself and act as a speaker at conferences such as LEAN Startup Russia . Incidentally, it was at this conference I received this book free of charge, that the great respect to the organizers - FRII and LPGenerator , as well asJulia Ploskonosova and Ilya Korolev . PS: I wrote a review of the conference here .

But first, some digression.
CustDev solves an important problem related to the fact that programmers like to program and do not like to talk with users of the product. Usually, to solve this problem, the project team contains people specially tailored to clarify the needs of customers - system analysts. They communicate with clients, write TK (technical task), according to TK the architect makes TP (technical project) - a document with decomposition of modules, description of interfaces between systems, solution architecture. The project manager cuts functionality by iterations, sets priorities, forms a team and development begins. Problems in this case arose immediately:
a) the requirements in the TOR became outdated, and the client easily gushed with new ideas, changed the previously set priorities.
b) the solution was drafted along the way, during implementation, the programmers made their own decisions (for example, the format of the fields in the database and during validation), so the requirements needed to be synchronized (code-TK-TP) in both directions.
c) it is difficult to maintain a balance of interests - for good design (including budget for fixed price projects), planning for team loading, you need a lot of detailed technical task at the beginning of work, and for a quick bug fix, changing the priorities of tasks of the technical task is not necessary, but work is needed in agile style.

The causes of the problem, why developers do not like to communicate with customers, lead to the myth of "garage programming" that arose around the year 1975 and is still surviving. It consists in the idea that any 1-3 people are locked from the outside world in a garage for 1-12 months. they will create a super-spice that will conquer the whole world and at one point put them in the top ten list of Forbes. Everything is completely wrong. The basis of any good idea that has conquered the market, first of all, is the search for a solvent client who will buy the product and quickly and efficiently solve his important problem. Aerobatics - the client will give you money for a product that does not exist until it is done (see Kickstarter , Indiegogo, and other MMM crowdfunding venues )
Before CustDev's practice, Agile (XP, Scrum, Continious integration, everything that came with it) was such a big breakthrough in software development. She solved the previous big pain of developers - obsolescence of TK, changing the priorities of functions, delays in the delivery of a workable product (or part of it) to the client.
Before Agile, TDD became a major insight - it solved the problem of a large number of bugs and inconsistencies between the modules.
Prior to TDD, a major breakthrough was the active development of SourceControl systems - to solve the problems of team development and code backup.
Prior to this, UML, RUP, DesignPatterns appeared - to design software and avoid creating your own bicycles.
Prior to this, code guidelines and reverse engineering began to be widely used in order to be able to support previously written systems

, etc. etc. Some things appeared at about the same time and are developing in parallel, but the general idea is that there is a solution to every important problem. Perhaps Lean will soon become obsolete and something else will appear, but at the moment this seems to be the best way to find, implement and bring the idea to the market, spending a minimum of time, money and team effort.

On this, we finish the lyrics. So, the insights from the book were quite substantial.

1) It is important to understand how the market works without you in reality, and not try to impose your vision of reality on the market
2) It is important to clarify all kinds of uncertainties in the product - the number of customers, their conversion, how they learn about the product, how often they use it. For each issue, it is necessary to generate and verify solutions - product hypotheses. A good pace is to test 50+ hypotheses in 3 months, i.e. constantly analyze and communicate with the client.
3) It is important to know client segments in order to spend less money on advertising, i.e. hone ads on a certain group of people, and not burn a breakthrough of money, advertising on TV, etc. area bombing for wide coverage.
4) Listen more, talk less with the client. Ask about the past, not the future. Talk about their life, not about their idea. At a previous job, the boss, when talking with the client, said the magic phrase “OK, I heard you” - this radically increases the productivity of the conversation if you listen, hear and draw conclusions based on the opinion of the client. PS: the phrase "I understand you" is bad, because implies that you didn’t understand anything before.
5) It is very unpleasant for many insights. Ask the client what the consequences of the situation are when a problem occurs (meaning, in the absence of your solution). Every entrepreneur wants at this moment to hear that without his decision, the client will have all the chakras closed, he will lose 1 million. $ and in general, will die in terrible torment :-). It may sound sad but in 99.99% of cases the world will manage without your ingenious idea (website, mobapp), also a lot depends on the pofigism of Central Asia. For years, people live in North Korea without Appstor and do not blow into the mustache. The realization that the idea is not very painful sharply reduces the motivation of the team, but it is better to hear it as soon as possible. A separate problem is the Stockholm syndrome of an entrepreneur, when an idea that has not taken off for years devours his time and resources - the project does not develop, but it is not closed.Alisher Hasanov , hello!
6) You need to love the bad news (the product, the implemented function is not needed), because the search for truth is more important than compliments and this will save you strength in the future if you do not do unnecessary things.
7) A typical mistake in a conversation with a client - without seeing an interest in the product, start to push and pitch (explain) what a cool idea you have (to cut the seller). My favorite mistake!
8) It is necessary to ask only that question, the answer to which is not obvious (it cannot be, for example, google). To ask, “Will you pay X money if it brings you 3 * X money?” Is a bad question, because he is obvious. One must ask, “How much do you pay now for a solution?”
9) Do not solve even a very painful and massive problem if CA does not have money to solve it.
10) To have a plan for each conversation — the 3 most important questions to clarify
11) A meeting is considered successful if everything is clear what to do next:
a) A plan has been made — commitments have been made for the time of the next meeting,
b) By reputation, they promise to present to management / others to experts,
c) For money - pre-order or sign an agreement of intent. Those. Each new meeting with the same client should be a promotion in the sales funnel - from identifying a problem to purchasing a solution.
12) Aerobatics - to conduct a problematic interview not making an appointment, but during a simple conversation with a random acquaintance
13) Good ways to make cold calls less cold - i.e. so that you are not looking for clients / partners, but they are you - blogging, dating through third parties, speaking at conferences, asking for contacts from industry experts, mentors, investors
14) An excellent template for a letter of request for a talk - All-Russian Social Protection Fund:
a) Vision (we trying to solve problems in such and such an area),
b) Formulation (we want to understand how this and that works),
c) Weakness (but we don’t understand anything about this),
e) Significance (but you understand that),
f) Please (let's meet then that)
15) to continue to meet until we hear something new, Eno yes enough 3-5 meetings to test the hypothesis. Offtop - heard that for LinguaLeoSpent 500+ meetings / 6+ months, although this may be the total number of meetings to test all hypotheses, and not just to check the original problem.
16) Segmentation of clients is also important because it will not be necessary to implement a bunch of functions, trying to please everyone (and therefore no one). Purely mathematically, the average score in the app’s app will be higher if you have 100 excellent reviews than 1000, both positive and negative. Although it seems that the more customers (including different ones), the more money, but this is not so.
17) Customer segments are not only demographics (our clients are 30+ women with children), but also other characteristics - critics / product adorers, poor / rich, active commentators who leave feedback in the FB, stories and are silent, share them based on the reasons for using the solution . It is better to work in the 1st segment, rather than sprayed. The best segment is rich admirers who are easy to reach and who will give great opportunities to develop a business with them (for example, they are actively buying additional services). Form segments according to the “Who-Where” principle (Who these people are / Where they can be found).

Well, something like this, I know that there are a lot of letters - respect to those who have mastered.

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