Hi there, Product Talk readers! I’m Melissa Suzuno. I’ve been helping Teresa with Product Talk content behind the scenes for the past few years. You may have noticed my handiwork if you’re a fan of the Oxford comma or em dash.
If you’ve been reading Product Talk for a few months, you probably remember that this past October, Teresa announced a brand-new Continuous Interviewing course in her blog post, “This Keystone Habit Will Fuel the Rest of Your Continuous Discovery Habits.”
But if you’re new to Product Talk or that blog post has faded away in the vast sea of material you’ve read over the past few months, don’t sweat it. I’ll give you a quick recap.
Teresa described a few concepts that she took into consideration when designing her Continuous Interviewing course. Here are the highlights:
- Deliberate practice: In his book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson describes how deliberate practice is what separates experts from novices. Deliberate practice requires focus, feedback, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Keystone habits: This concept comes from The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. A keystone habit drives the adoption of other habits. For example, many people find that once they begin exercising regularly (a keystone habit), it’s much easier to pick up other healthy habits like drinking water or eating more fruits and vegetables.
- Continuous interviewing is a keystone habit for product teams. Based on her experience as a product discovery coach, Teresa has observed that continuous interviewing is the habit that sets the tone for other continuous discovery best practices. Once product teams adopt continuous interviewing, they find it much easier to follow other best practices like rapid prototyping and frequent experimenting. They do a better job of connecting what they are learning from their research activities with the product decisions they are making.
Continuous interviewing is the keystone habit that sets the tone for other continuous discovery best practices. – Tweet This
Teresa also outlined which skills students could expect to focus on in the Continuous Interviewing course, writing:
“The course is designed to help you build a continuous habit of interviewing, and more importantly, get some deliberate practice with the skill of interviewing so that you get more from each interview.
You’ll learn how to ask the right interview questions so that you get actionable insight from your prospects and customers.
You’ll learn how to improve your active listening skills and take better notes during the interviews.
You’ll learn how to synthesize what you are learning from each interview using interview snapshots, making it easy for you to act on what you are learning.
You’ll learn how to automate the recruiting process, removing the biggest hurdle to continuous interviewing.
And, most importantly, you’ll get a minimum of 4 hours of deliberate practice (more if you want it) to hone your skill.”
Now that the first cohort has completed the course, we wanted to report back on how they found the experience.
We gathered feedback from everyone who participated in the course: 50 product managers, product designers, UX researchers (and a few others). Here’s what they had to say about the experience.
On the overall course structure and flow:
“It was spread out well enough to retain and add to the knowledge and practice it all so that I think I probably actually learned it. Not too challenging or too much commitment from a homework perspective, which was also positive. I was excited to be involved the whole time.”
– David Straight, Designer at McGraw-Hill Education
“Extremely satisfied with the quality and time length of the course. Optional reading was great idea. It fits in neatly with work and is achievable.” – Simon le Maistre, Head of Product at Reallyenglish
On the benefit of deliberate practice:
“It has been really useful for me to have the guinea pig group to practice with and learn from. I feel much more confident to try this with real customers than if I’d just read some blog posts. As you said in the initial pitch—deliberate practice is how you learn!” – Tam Finlay, Head of Product at Farewill
“The lesson was helpful in understanding that interviewing takes practice and that mistakes still get made—but product teams can still learn valuable things from those interviews.” – Cyndi Hosch, UX Researcher at Choice Hotels
‘Interviewing takes practice… but product teams can still learn valuable things from those interviews.’ – Cyndi Hosch, UX Researcher at Choice Hotels – Tweet This
On applying what they learned:
“Was good, actionable content. I was able to utilize these methods immediately in my real life.” – Rob Adams, Product Manager at Greenlight Guru
“I like the concept of the snapshot, as I think it could really benefit my team moving forward. It helps to focus on one memorable quote, the main quick facts about the person, and the most important insights and opportunities that you took away from the conversation (instead of pages and pages of notes or long report-outs). This will help with the continuous discovery process that we’re starting for our product team, as we can easily adopt the snapshot into our own process and even print them out to hang on the walls in our office. Over time, it will help to see the trends with insights and opportunities.” – Kate Thompson, Manager, UX Research at Choice Hotels
‘We can easily adopt the snapshot into our own process… it will help us see the trends with insights and opportunities.’ – Kate Thompson, Manager at UX Research – Tweet This
“This week really brought it all together for me and I got to use it in my interviews at work.” – Kaelin Burns, Senior Product Manager at ZEFR
“Teresa’s course has been a wonderful reminder of how critical the contextual interview is to your discovery practice. The small digestible education components of articles and videos paired with the immersion of a weekly remote classroom with industry peers made for an awesome shared understanding experience.” – Larry Thacker, Product Designer at CarMax
Now it’s your chance!
Sound like something you’d like to be a part of? You’re in luck! Teresa is offering the Continuous Interviewing course again from January 5–February 2. Registration closes on December 15, so be sure to act soon. You can read more about the specifics of the course and sign up here.