Sign up to our newsletter for a crash course in Lean Startup!

How to do Problem Interviews

Problem Interview

Together with Olav Loen we are now working on a digital version on Playing Lean. In this process we want to “practice what we preach” and have a lean startup approach to the entire process.

The goal of the problem interview is to figure out who the early adopters of your product are going to be, what problems you can help them solve and how they solve these problems today.

In the problem interview, you should really avoid pitching or selling your idea when talking to potential customers. The focus should be on learning.

We started doing problem interviews a few weeks ago with following script:

  1. Tell me a story about the last time you facilitated a Playing Lean game.
  2. What was the hardest?
  3. Why was that hard?
  4. How do you solve it now?
  5. Why is that not awesome?

To be sure we dig deep enough we had following memory joggers:

  • Remember to make notes about emotions
  • Remember to ask 5 why's
  • You should perform these questions 3 times per customer.

Justin Wilcox of Customer Development Labs explains it brilliantly in this Youtube video:

Need some help with doing Problem Interviews? Ash Maurya, Author of Running Lean and creator of Lean Canvas wrote a great Problem Interview Scrip that you can follow.

If you want to learn and teach others Lean Startup then Playing Lean is an excellent tool for you! Grab your copy and add the extra scenarios Ride Sharing and fan fav Social Media to extend your game.

Older Post
Newer Post

1 comment

  • Great Content.
    Just wondering if all products have to be pain killers for existing obvious pains.
    Just wondering how this will translate in a situation where that which the customer has is deemed fantastic but our plan is to deliver a super-fantastic product. Sony Walkman was cool. Disc Man was even cooler. The Ipod was from a different planet. How would you interview in such circumstances? Just wondering…

    Is there content for this somewhere I could be directed to?

    Robert Ikazoboh

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Close (esc)

London calling!

Join us in November for our first post-pandemic in-person Playing Lean Facilitator Training, and learn how to hold engaging Playing Lean workshops and teach your clients or students about Lean Startup!

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now