Articles / First contact

You’ve most likely arrived here because I’ve sent you the link in preparation for our first meeting.

New clients

For most of my new clients, I ask:

  1. What are you about? What do you do and why?
  2. What are the problems you’re experiencing that you want my help with?
  3. How big are those problems? (If you can quantify them in some way that’s incredibly useful)
  4. What have you tried already?
  5. What are you hoping to achieve?

The answers to these help me to assess where you are in your thinking and how I might be able to add value.

Digging deeper

One of the most common requests I get is to help people and organisations define their requirements for a technology solution - whether it’s a solution that they’re going to sell to paying customers, or one for an internal audience. This might then lead to creating a board-level proposal, leading a procurement process, or managing a project to build a new product.

I’m claiming very little originality for the questions. They are simply ones that I’ve found work well.

Adapted from Roman Pichler’s Product Vision Board:

  • What is your vision for the thing you’re creating? (The product)
  • Why do you want to make it?
  • Who will be using the product? (The users)
  • Who will pay for the product? (The customers)
  • What problems will the product solve for the users and the customers?
  • What is special about your product? Are there off-the-shelf solutions that would work just as well?
  • What will you and/or your organisation benefit from creating the solution?

Adapted from Ash Maurya’s Running Lean:

  • What assumptions are you making?
  • What are your riskiest assumptions?
  • What would be the impact if those assumptions were wrong?
  • How can you validate those risky assumptions, without burning through your funds?

Based on my experience of digital transformation:

  • How will you know you’ve succeeded?
  • In that future state, from the first time you “touch” a user or customer, through to the point at which you have solved their problem, what people, processes and technology will you need to have in place?
  • What data do you need to collect to measure success and to identify problems early?

Next steps

Whilst we probably won’t go much beyond the first few questions in the first meeting, they should help paint a picture of where I am likely to take you.

The rest will form the basis of a series of workshops with key stakeholders.


Posted: 14 December 2020

Tags: Learning Technology Business