Warning message

  • The service having id "twitter" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
  • The service having id "facebook" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
  • The service having id "google_plus" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
  • The service having id "linkedin" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.

Presentation: Discover Key Customer Insights



4:10pm - 5:00pm

Key Takeaways

  • Learn what makes great questions, and what makes some not so great questions.
  • Become an explorer of your users's world
  • Gain confidence in customer interactions through experiential exercises


How can you get the most out of your time when talking to users? Marianne will share how to crank up your interviewing skills and discover key insights that could lead you to the next big innovative “thing” your users need.

Interview with Marianne Berkovich

QCon: What is the motivation for your talk?

Marianne: This talk is part of the design thinking track. One of the key skills in Design Thinking is developing empathy with your customers. You develop empathy by talking to people. It may seem like all you are doing is talking to people, but conducting really good customer interviews involves skills that are learnable. So that’s what this talk is about. It’s to help people start developing skills to build that customer empathy.

QCon: What makes a good interview?

Marianne: I think focusing on the other person instead of on your own agenda or expectations. For example in casual conversation, you bring up an interest in something, and we talk about that. When we go into an interview with a specific agenda, we are focused on that, and not on really understanding someone. I think a good interview is understanding a customer’s point of view.. These types of interviews also generate insights that are longer lasting.

QCon: What does your talk look like?

Marianne: There are two parts to the talk.

The first part is the most essential things someone needs to know about asking good questions. For example, there are ways to ask some good questions, and ways to ask some not so good questions.

The second part is giving people a chance to try it out what we discussed. Afterwards, we will debrief, and see how things went.

QCon: Can you give me an example of maybe some good questions?

Marianne: Sure, one category of questions that are not so good is asking people to predict the future or asking them to remember how they felt in the past. So “how will you use this feature?” is maybe not so good a question, because the interviewee’s idea of what the feature will do is not necessarily the same as the person asking the question. There may not be a shared understanding of what a feature is going to do. It’s much better to ask someone how are they solving a problem today, rather than what then predicting how they might solve it in the future.

QCon: What if you are an architect or another technical person on the team that doesn’t necessarily get directly involved with customer interviews. How might that persona benefit from your talk?

Marianne: Even if you are not the person asking the questions, I think you can help shape the conversation. If you know certain questions are being asked, you can bring awareness of the types of questions to the forefront. So for example, an architect might say hey guys we are asking people to predict the future here. The technical person not actually doing the interview can be that spotchecker to make sure we are developing empathy and getting good information from the customer. The person can be an educated consumer of the customer research and ask good questions of whoever is going to be asking the actual questions.

QCon: Does the customer have to be the end user that’s using the product? I mean could the customer be another technical person?

Marianne: Exactly, whoever your user is or whoever is the target user for your product or service is the customer. Learning to ask good questions is a skill that can be applied in a lot of different ways.

QCon: Can you summarize what I’m going to learn in your talk?

Marianne: You are going to learn that to gain insights about your users you will need to be willing to explore their world. The talk will give you the tools you need for this adventure of exploration.


Covering innovative topics

Monday Nov 16

Tuesday Nov 17

Wednesday Nov 18

Conference for Professional Software Developers