How to identify Must Haves (MH)

1. What is a Must Have?

A Must Have is "table-stakes"... absolutely required or customers can't use your product.

Your main goal in Discovery interviews is to uncover and understand customers’ outcomes… their desired end-results. You’ll record one outcome per sticky note, and by the end of the interview you’ll typically mark 5-to-10 them as Top Picks (TPs)… those outcomes customers are most eager to see improved.

During the interview, you’ll likely also hear some Must Haves (MHs). These are outcomes the customers must have or they could not use your product. You’ll mark these MHs as you go, and it’s a good idea to ask if there are any others at the end of the interview. Later, in Preference interviews, you’ll show customers the list of Must Haves you’ve collected at all Discovery interviews and ask if they agree with each.

Examples of Must Haves include:

  • Must meet this certification standard
  • Must not contain any heavy metals
  • Must last 1000 service hours

Sometimes the Must Have is binary: The outcome is either satisfied or not—there’s no middle ground. The first two examples above fall into this category. In other cases, the Must Have is continuous, e.g., must last 1000 service hours.

Sometimes interview teams--and their customers--get confused about the difference between a Must Have (MH) and a Top Pick (TP). It's important to be clear about these definitions. The next BlueHelp article, Don't confuse Must Haves and Top Picks, should help. For more on Must Haves, see e-Learning Module: Discovery Interviews at > e-Learning.


Keywords: must have, must-have, required, table-stakes, price-of-entry, binary must have, continuous must have, MH