Jeff Gothelf, a Lean UX advocate who works at Neo, gave a webinar titled, “Q&A with Jeff Gothelf.” Jeff did a great job breaking down what Lean UX is and its unique contribution to product development and innovation. Here are a few topics he discussed that are worth pointing out:

1. Getting Clients to Expect Something Different

Jeff says that the Lean UX approach emphasizes business success over producing some type of deliverable. Companies usually ask consulting firms to produce a piece of code, a prototype, or a PowerPoint deck. The Lean UX approach, however, requires consultants to ask big-picture type questions like “Why are we building this?” and “Is making the new app you’re asking us to make really going to help you become successful?” Most companies do not expect and are not prepared to answer these types of questions. The biggest challenge to Lean UX is getting companies to buy into this way of working.

2. Lean UX as User-Centered and Evidence-Based

Lean UX was implemented on top of the Agile development framework as a way to bring engineers and developers closer to the needs of the user. Every business makes assumptions about their user. The Lean UX approach holds each of these assumptions up to empirical verification.

How do you test the assumptions you have about your customers and their needs? Jeff says that it is important to engage in both qualitative and quantitative research. Early in the product development cycle, qualitative research — such as field studies and interviews — is critical. This type of research is the best way to understand whether there is a need for the product you’re developing. Once the product is built, you can then incorporate quantitative metrics into your analysis.

3. Customer Development Is King

One participant almost stumped Jeff during the end of the talk: “If you had to pick one Lean UX principle, what would it be?” After debating the merits of both customer development and stakeholder collaboration, he eventually settled on customer development. Knowing your customers, Jeff says, is probably more important than stakeholder collaboration, because at least we have a better chance at building the right thing!

Check out the webinar for yourself!