Part 1: LEAN, How to Maximise Customer Value

This post comes in 3 parts

Part 1: Maximising Customer Value
Part 2: Minimising Waste
Part 3: Download lean tools


Does this sound familiar?

“It’s out of scope” Product Owner
“We don’t have time”project Manager
“We’re running out of money”Account Manager
“JFDI!!”Irate boss

Do you find when there comes a critical decision to make within a design process, the customer experience seems to routinely take a second seat to other concerns? Are these other concerns often business focused goals such as budget, time constraints, or product owners keen to release another feature? Do you feel like you’re the only person that really cares about the customer?

If so, I believe this is symptomatic of a design process that is focused around achieving business goals.  A design process that hopes customer goals are just ‘solved’ by the designer during the process is never going to consistently deliver value and could create alot of waste.

Maximising customer value

In order to create the most value for a customer you need to ensure that your product or service connects to a job, or goal a customer has.  You can learn more on this from JTBD and the excellent talk from Sian Townsend or the master Clay Christonson give a great example of this.  Clay’s example of a milkshake product design process is a great way to explain the concept.  However taking a concept and baking into your design process is key to making this work.  I’m interested in creating tools that can help guide your design process towards creating this type of customer value .

Lets Imagine..

Your in a design team for an App – Best Recipes. If we were in the design team, we could visualise our backlog and i’ve also added in some recognisable business goals.

Now what’s wrong here? Firstly we have an all to familiar feature based backlog. If a design team tackle this featured based backlog, how will they approach it? How will the team know what success is and how to measure it? There’s a risk they’ll be using the business metrics to evaluate success (app downloads, usage).

The problem here, is you won’t be able to measure these things until after release, and focusing on these business metrics won’t lead to creating real value to the customer.  This is because the team hasn’t aligned around customer goals. A customer doesn’t care about your app rating or downloads. The team would be at risk of either guessing, or just copying a competitor and just tweaking it. We miss the opportunity to innovate and add real value.

So..we need to add customer goals.

Creating customer goals

Creating good customer goals,  and understanding how to measure them will be essential as we validate our design. To run this exercise you will need to conduct research. You can do this with customer interviews and insight.  You may take it from personas you had already created. Mapping out scenarios is the best place to start.

Supposing you found that a common scenario that happens is that customers get home, hungry and in a hurry. From there you can explore what their goal is and how they try to fix this goal today as well as their feelings about it. This is vital information as it will help both inform the design.


Using the insights gained by exploring a scenario, the design team can speculate what a good hypthoesis might be.

Having gathered a customer goal and hypothesis, we can now bring this back to our visualised product canvas and folding it in with more customer goals.  You might also want to prioritise and rank your customer goals.

Now we have a Hypothesis we can create tests.  When a design team tackles an item on the backlog they will do so informed with a balanced view of customer and business goals.  This will also help us create customer based metrics for our tests.

A few examples in the wild


Part 2: LEAN, How to Minimise waste >