Jul 202014

Picture of women suffering a headache.Give Me The Basics? - Customer Development Is All About Testing That Hypotheses.

Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez is one of the latest releases from the O’Reilly Lean book series with each release focusing on a different element of the Lean Startup Model. The earlier books have included titles such as Lean Analytics and UX for Lean Startups, and this books focuses on how you can integrate customer development into the product life-cycle. The idea of customer development as described by the Lean Startup model is that a startup business concept is just a series of untested hypotheses, and that the Customer Development process is way of testing and validating each of those hypotheses to discover the correct model.

What Do You Like?  - Providing A Complete Guide.

No matter if you work for are a startup company or established organisation this book can help as it also has chapters devoted to enterprise size companies.  The book has case studies throughout and includes practical advice. To help reinforce the knowledge the author has included takeaways with the key points from the chapter. The book impressed me as it provides a complete guide to the process from the start of a customer development project right through to the end.

Give Me The Low-down On One Concept From The Book? – It’s All Problem Solving.

I am a true believer of the context driven testing model and the fact that “The product is a solution. If the problem isn’t solved, the product doesn’t work.” A similar concept runs throughout the book about finding the true problems the customer is facing and how customer development can help you find that.

Give Me One Quote From The Book? - It’s A Hypothesis Baby…

“Everything you do in customer development is centered around testing hypotheses.”

What Do You Rate The Book? – Five Stars Not Matter What Your Role

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If you job is part of the software development process this book can help release products that “Solve the customers problem.”  However this book  is very useful for testers and anyone involved in running the beta programmes with customers. Even if you are not thinking of conducting a formal customer development programme with the techniques described in the book it can help you gain more knowledge on the customers and the true issues they are facing.

Item Has Been Provided For Free For Review However Opinions Are My Own See Here For Details

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Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy Book Cover Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy

Jul 142014

Photo of Customer Service Award In A Bank Window.When I Write To CEOs & MDs

Twice a year I choose a company store/restaurant that I have received consistently excellent customer service. I will ‘hunt out’ the email for the CEO/MD and contact them to let them know how good the store and its staff have been. Talking to CEOs/MDs was a regular occurrence in my previous jobs so I have never been phased by this communication.

This year I selected the Caffe Nero in Loughborough and the Pizza Hut in Leicester (Haymarket). I do not let the staff know before hand I am going to email as it is not important they know. What is important is that the CEO/MD knows they are doing a great job.  But you may ask why I do it?

Highlighting Good Customer Service To The Management

It is inevitable the senior management will be more disconnected from the front line as an organisation gets larger . Television shows like Undercover Boss prove this no matter if it is bad or good customer service they tend not to hear about it.  Also my experience of working in retail when I was younger is that large percentage of the emails that head office get are complaints as it is human nature people tend to only complain. I use to have a director who would say “If you have a happy customer they tell one other person however if you have an unhappy customer they will tell ten people.”

Making sure that senior management recognise consistent excellent customer service is important. As I feel direct praise and recognition from the top management board is one of the greatest compliments and motivators a staff member can receive. Having the ‘big boss’ saying “well done” and recognising you and the rest of the team motivates more than any other action a boss can take.

Photo of chain reaction setupMotivation Is Like A Virus

However this translates down no matter how large an organisation or team is as having motivated staff is vitally important. Even if it is one or two people on a team or thousands of people in an organisation.

Motivation is like a virus be it negative or positive it swarms through an organisation.  I have been in places after I emailed the CEO and the staff have a renewed energy. Staff feel they are part of the brand and company. Which then means the great customer service continues and hopefully the staff pass along the positive reaction with it spreading both within the company but with the customers they interact with as well.

To go back to my original question “Why do I write to CEO’s?” because I want the senior management to recognise great customer service and hopefully cause the positive interactions to continue.

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Jul 082014

Photo of Rubik's cubeGive Me The Basics: It’s All About Maths Paradoxes & Logic Solving

As software testers we have to think out the box which means that problem solving puzzles are great training aids.  The book Impossible Folding Puzzles and Other Mathematical Paradoxes by Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber tries to explain why people often fail at them and how you can hone your problem solving skills.

What Do You Like?

The main thing I like about this book is that it tries to link the mathematical concepts to the puzzles it shows. An example the first chapter is about puzzles related to topology. Topology is describing the properties of an object that remain unchanged when you transform shapes such as bending or stretching them.

Give Me The Lowdown On One Concept From The Book.

One central idea to the book is you can reduce many mathematical problems and puzzles down to misdirection (similar to the same way magicians use misdirection). The fact people have trouble solving a problem due to the way our brains are programmed to work and how we look at problems in a certain way.  This is a very important concept to understand as software testers as it is central to how we test software.  As testers we should always be looking out the box and not following the ‘happy path’.  However this book does remind us that even the best of us will still be forced into the established neurological programming and we need to have an awareness of this.

Give Me One Quote From The Book.

“The book says it aims to show:

Nothing is as difficult as it seems.

Nothing is as easy as it looks.

Puzzles always have one, several or no solutions.”

What Do You Rate The Book?

4 Star Rating


If you are a software tester this book will help hone your skill on “thinking outside the box” and pushing ones view into a different perspective which are two very critical skills for software testers to work on.

Item Has Been Provided For Free For Review However Opinions Are My Own See Here For Details

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Impossible Folding Puzzles and Other Mathematical Paradoxes Book Cover Impossible Folding Puzzles and Other Mathematical Paradoxes

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