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The MRD & Customer Discovery

Monday, September 11, 2017: 3:30 - 5:30 PM
Hawes 203


Required Readings

Read EITHER the two decks in #1 below OR, if you prefer blog posts by practitioners, read #2 through #10. If you love this stuff, read it all!

  1. Notes on Early Customer Research and refresher on MVP Testing.

  2. Seven Lessons I Learned from Dinnr's Failure by Michal Bohanes (focus only on Lesson #1; you can skim/skip the rest)

  3. How to Find Early Adopters by Brant Cooper

  4. 12 Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews by Giff Constable

  5. How Many Customers Should You Interview? by Customer Development Labs

  6. The Power of Observation: How More Companies Can Have 'Aha' Moments by Ellen Isaacs

  7. An MVP is Not a Cheaper Product, It's About Smart Learning by Steve Blank

  8. Know Your Customers’ “Jobs To Be Done” by Clayton Christensen et. al., HBR

Recommended Reading

  1. Terrific books on how to conduct early customer research:


Before 5 pm on Sunday, Sept. 10, link a Google doc (with view access to anyone with the link ON) in the PM101 Assignment Master in the Sep 11 - Personas tab with:

  • One primary persona for your application. We know that most of you haven't finished the customer research needed to develop personas; consider this a draft and do your best, even if you have completed little customer research.

  • The top three questions, with the EXACT wording that you'd use, that you'd pose to an interviewee who matches your persona type.

  • Please complete this exercise individually, not as a team. If your team has already met to discuss target customer segments and interview questions, it's fine to build on that work.

  • Bring a printed copy of your persona and questions to class, or be prepared to display your work to a classmate on a laptop/tablet.


  • Review our outline for an MRD . Bring to class any questions you have about its topic areas.

  • Read the MRD that Ravneet Uberoi, Ally Benas, and Anny Jeung wrote in PM101 '16 for a Used Furniture Donation application. For class discussion, does the MRD provide the information you'd need to determine whether to proceed with user experience and design work? Can you think of ways to improve the MRD, in particular, additional research that could be conducted? What questions would you pose to interviewees if you were researching this concept?

  • Read this vision statement and hypotheses about unmet customer needs. developed in PM101 in 2014 for Beauty on Demand by Dina Burkitbayeva and Riya Khilnani. Consider how the Beauty on Demand team could test demand for solutions that address the unmet needs BEFORE they build any software. Be prepared to discuss in class.

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