Team activities to better understand Your Customers and Team

A short blog post sharing this Month’s blogger’s challenge on ‘Team activities to better understand your customers and team’.

The word empathy immediately jumps out to me when I think of understanding customers better. How do you create empathy? How do you understand things from a customer’s point of view?

In my experience I have observed that teams feel that they need to get into the room with a customer to understand them better, which is probably the golden scenario. If you can get that type of interaction with your customers, then you could consider using the design thinking technique. However, if you don’t have that option (or even if you do) you could consider using personas.

Design thinking

Design thinking is a technique that puts the customer at the centre. It gives you the opportunity to work together as a team to solve the real problems that customers are facing. Sometimes we don’t often get it right, so with using this technique it will provide fast feedback.

The first part of design thinking is empathy where you really listen to the customer and understand what the problem is. Then you go through the process of define-ideate-prioritise-prototype-test. All of these stages are as important as each other, however, getting the first part right of really listening will save you time overall.

Benefits for the team

I have found that this technique helps the team to be more creative and think of possibilities ‘outside of the box’. It supports innovation efforts to make your product stand out from the crowd. It increases collaboration amongst your team members and steps you into the customer’s shoes


Personas are basically fictional characters that help you figure out what the goals and behaviours are for your customers. Here are some resources that may help you to get going in understanding personas.

Without understanding the goals and behaviour of a customer you are at risk of creating a product that is not fit for purpose because it does not meet the users expectations.

Benefits for the team

Personas are important for testers because it helps you think about whether there are any gaps in the requirements/design of your product in relation to meeting user goals.

Recently some of my team members have been referring to the names of personas like ‘Sally’ or ‘Giovanni’ in their day to day work, which brings the customer in the room at all times. This is important, as after all, this product is for them, so they should be at the centre of all conversations.

What are your thoughts on team activities to better understand your customers and team?

Test team leader sharing my knowledge, experience and thoughts on testing related matters.