Finding the right problem, its details, from customer interviews are similar to finding an address in India.
A problem while looking for an address in India is that neighbourhoods are congested and the roads are not labeled. One uses landmarks to reach to the right area, find a shopkeeper to guide you to the next smaller neighbourhood landmark – rinse, repeat – recursion :-).
Similarly, customer interviews are an open-ended discovery process, you hope to find the right problem neighbourhood and then navigate the alley to find the right house. The “be an intern” phase gets you in the right neighbourhood. Getting to the right house means that the product manager wants to
- gain a deeper understanding of the problem
- validate earlier assumptions about the problem
- validate if the solution hypothesis holds up in light of the new information
“Tell me more or I would like to know more about…” is a power question that helps clarify and validate assumptions about the problem domain. This question is usually asked after you have poked around the obvious questions on what the customer has told you. In the initial discovery phases this can be used to narrow down the persona as in “tell me more about who has this problem” or understand the depth of the pain as in “tell me more about why this is so important to you”. In the latter phases, when you have prototypes or mockups, the question ends up validating your solution as in “tell me more if you care about this view” or “tell me more if you care about storing logs” or “tell me more about someone who does this well”.
Simple enough! Its power lies in its simplicity. Try it next time.