(I initially wrote this a few years back on my old blog. Reposting here because, well, I still have the same views).
My job wouldn’t exist without user feedback. I am constantly trying to improve on the type of questions I ask, but so far I have a definitive list for“good to ask” and “never ask”. This is specifically referring to interviewing users who are familiar with the platform.
“How can we improve our product?” Almost every user will have an answer to this one. Power users could talk to me about these for hours. But as a PM, am I really running short on product ideas? This question could be a great ice-breaker, but I wouldn’t take many notes. From my experience, focusing on problems users are facing is a more rewarding tactic. Once I have a good understanding of their problems I can go back to my desk and do my homework (think about solutions). Often users will suggest ideas without themselves realizing what it is they’re trying to solve. This is not to say that users ideas aren’t good. The truth is that I, as a PM, spend most of my day in this “idea” mindset, while they do not. It’s unfair to expect anyone else to have the same depth of understanding the platform, the market, the problem, etc. However, this is an excellent question to ask users offline, in a feedback forum, for example. …
Super Bowl comes to San Francisco in two weeks. I’m not into it. Neither are you? Great! Here are totally random 10 Super Fun things we can do instead (well, not together, you do your own thing and I’ll do mine…).