User Interviewing is hard

When I started at the current role, I brought in a lot of steam from Mode to talk to a user every day. Looming large in my memory was a conversation with my manager where I was telling him about a wonderful conversation I had with a user, and I said, “Why don’t we do this more often?” And he said, cryptically, “Yeah, why don’t we?”

I think that emphasis is in the right place: why don’t we talk to users every day?

We might not because:

Observing myself and PMs at the current role, I think those are all dissemblances. I think it boils down to two things:

  1. It’s hard to be vulnerable and I’m scared of what I’m going to hear
  2. I am overloaded and can’t send out emails and schedule meetings with users

(2) is the easier one to solve: you can buy tools (e.g. Dovetail, Sprig (née UserLeap), UserFlow) or you can hire a person (in the “Things You’re Allowed to Do” sense)

(1) is the limiting reagent and the one that Product Teams have to really face