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Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy Hardcover – June 8, 2014


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Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy + Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean Series) + Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Lean
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (June 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449356354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449356354
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cindy Alvarez is a product manager who turns understanding the customer into competitive advantage. Currently the Director of User Experience and Product Design for Yammer (a Microsoft company), she has worked with early- and mid-stage startups as well as Fortune 500 companies to make customer development an ingrained part of company culture and product development process.


More About the Author

Cindy Alvarez is the author of Lean Customer Development: How to Build Products Your Customers Will Buy.

Cindy has been using customer development techniques for well over a decade, across a variety of roles and organization sizes. She hates that alleged Henry Ford quote "If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would've said 'a faster horse'."

After seeing many organizations struggle, she wrote _Lean Customer Development_ as practical, hands-on guide to effectively talk to customers. Through the tactics in the book, organizations will learn how to rigorously validate their ideas, differentiate customer 'wants' from 'needs', and build constant learning into their product development culture.

Cindy earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Harvard University, where she gained equally valuable insights working as a computer support tech. After college she moved to San Francisco, where she has worked in interaction design, customer research, and product management for both startups and Fortune 500 companies. In her current role she runs user experience and product design for Yammer (a Microsoft company) and evangelizes lean tactics throughout the company as part of Microsoft's UX Leadership Team.

She writes a blog on user experience, product management, startups, and managing at: thttp://www.cindyalvarez.com

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
The book has case studies throughout and includes practical advice.
Russell Dyas
In other words, it breaks down the process one would go through to tailer their business offerings into something customers actually will buy.
Citizen John
Highly recommended for anyone looking to become more customer oriented or customer centric.
Mark P. McDonald

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Full disclosure, I have Lean Analytics and UX for Lean Start-ups. I love those 2 books. My analytics side wished there was a title to help with one of the biggest challenges, defining the customer. Low and Behold, Lean Customer Development comes out.
I have already read the book in the first 10 days and am now starting to read it again. Making notes, and planning my projects.
If you are looking for, probably one of the best titles on defining your customer, and step-by-step methods to do it, pick up this book.
Pro’s
- The author talks about interviewing, how to do it, some questions to get you started and walks you through it.
- The descriptions offer you a way to tell if what you are planning to do really does make sense. If it does, great, if it doesn't, what you can do to address this and really find you niche.
Con’s
- Now this isn't really a con, but be prepared to learn. This book has a great deal of depth and breadth. I would suggest reading it once, then going back with a notebook to really plan your project with it.

I have founded companies and helped others do the same. If I had this book years ago, it would have saved huge amount of time on 2 businesses that investors thought was a good ideas, but we figured out there were some key issues that, if we identified them earlier, would have saved us a lot of time and $$$.

I would recommend this book to:
1. Anyone starting a business
2. A person in a large company planning a new product or service
3. A person that has a business that is 0-16 months along and wants to see how they might be able to do more-better-faster
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Russell Dyas on July 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Originally Posted At http://www.russelldyas.com/2014/07/20/lean-mean-customer-development-machine/

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 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?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Citizen John TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
To me this book is a how-to on learning marketing lessons on the cheap. In other words, it breaks down the process one would go through to tailer their business offerings into something customers actually will buy. The idea is to get to that point through minimal time, money, and friction.

This method of tailoring one's offerings changes the way we think. Instead of trying to persuade a customer, we are instructed to think of our interaction with the customer as an experiment. Everything we do to connect with the customer is meant to be a learning experience.

I believe this book is helpful because it gives the reader a purpose to every customer interaction. This is a way to think and it is a process of questioning and probing for solutions.

Also by the author: Pragmatic Marketer Winter 2013
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are launching, running, or attempting to turnaround a business, the first thing you need to do is read this book (and Ash Maurya's, Running Lean).

Also, Google: Bob Dorf + "MY TAKE: WAY TOO MANY STARTUPS, NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH TRACTION"

Steve Blank and Bob Dorf's books are excellent and highly recommended. I read them straight through, cover to cover, however I think most people prefer to use the Blank/Dorf works as reference or diving deep into specific concepts.

Lean Customer Development (and Running Lean) is excellent at explaining concepts as well as providing actionable and measurable steps towards keeping your business customer-centric and focused on what really matters (providing the greatest opportunity for value creation ($)).

In addition to what the other reviewers covered, I would suggest that if your idea/business is not tech-based please do not be discouraged. It will just take a slightly more open mind to be creative and customize some of the templates and suggested activities.

In my time as an entrepreneur and mentor, one major challenge I have seen preventing businesses from being REALLY successful - small or large, online or offline, product or service, startup or established - is falling into the trap of having too much "pride of authorship" or an identity tied too tightly to the company.

I have seen startups fail because founders were either too prideful or just plain shy (find a +1 to help!) to connect in meaningful ways with customers - potential or actual. I have seen establish companies flounder and/or fail because their customers change and they don't, relying on the "way its always been done" and caring more about maintaining their lifestyle + routine than creating true value.
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