A critical part of boosting U.S. innovation is finding ways, as lean startup Steve Blank says, to help startups NOT fail. Blank and Frank Robinson have figured out that startups need to get out of the office and meet with as many potential customers as they can find. In a startup course at Stanford, Blank makes student entrepreneurs meet with at least 100 customers. This is one way we can get our edge back in the global tech competition.
I love the recommended practices listed at the end of the story. Especially the part that says: ēAsk questions. Take notes. Ask question of fact, not opinion, then shut up. Take notes. Tag data and quotes."
Agile is nothing new for anyone who does software. I see it moving into the hardware world more and more as well. It's a great idea, but takes a lot of leaps of faith on the part of the team involved (and an even bigger leap from the upper management). With the story above, the amazing part isn't necessarily that this new methodology worked...it's that it was accepted immediately once the team decided upon it. That kind of sea change can cause a lot of turmoil in a company.
You're very right. Synchronous customer and product development (SyncDev)in large companies requires a lot of choreography, especially with Sales. But, large company or small, a GM or CEO is the must-have sponsor. She's the only one who can put engineering, marketing, design, product management, and sales into one van.
As a product marketing manager I often met with clients and prospects who wanted new features, then I would ask, "If I deliver you that new feature tomorrow, tell me how much time or money you will save. Will it be a time savings of 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, or 1 year?" The answers were always very revealing about what mattered in their business.