Methods > Gather Insights > Problem Validation Exercise

Problem Validation Exercise

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  • Learn and/or validate your hypothesis and assumptions around your problem and target audience.


  • Build products that have problem-solution fit by pivoting or adapting learnings into development of the product.


5 days


2 people


Tip: it’s best to get an expert on board to help you run these methods.


Recording device (audio/video), Camera Release forms, note taking material, post its for synthesis

Detailed steps

There are many ways to dig into the problem with users, interviews, contextual inquiry and other types of research are all great at this. We’ve used the example of Jobs to Be Done interviews below, but they are only one of many methods.

If you don’t have an existing product, identify a competitor product that you want to investigate – your aim in recruiting participants will be to find people who have recently (within the last 3 months) switched to this solution.

Make sure you recruit people who were actively involved in the process of switching to the solution – e.g., not people who received the solution as a gift. See our recruiting guide for more information.

Follow up with them to set a time and place to meet (remote or in-person), remind them prior to session.

Build out an interview guide (this is not a script, interviews should be conversations and your guide is just to keep you on track, not to read from). There are a few guides available for helping to structure this – see this Condensed JTBD interview script and this longer script. These JTBD cards are also a great tool for planning your research.

On the day, ensure you have a notetaker for the interviews. Before interviewing read through our 101 guide for interviewing. Ensure that you create comfort before starting the interview – stress that there are no wrong or right answers, and that this is just some preliminary research to set the scene for more detailed investigations. Start the interview by asking the users why they bought the product – this is what people are generally expecting and it helps to get the most obvious jobs out of the way. To determine jobs to be done, you can focus the conversation on the motivating factors of the solution for the users. Use the helpful JTBD interview template in taking notes.

With a full understanding of each user response and behavior, take time to soon after your last interview review your data and start synthesizing it into insight. Extract key findings: what were the key struggles people had before adopting a new solution? What were the situations that people were trying to resolve? What trade-offs did people make when coming to a decision? What dimensions created value in their mind when they came to the moment of purchase? What were the habits and anxieties that held them back from making progress?

Create a concise summary document that is useful to you first and foremost, and can also be used to keep stakeholders up to date.