Excellent summary article:
Great article indeed, thanks for sharing, Sarah!
I have done focus groups as well as usability tests with customers directly on the product. Both were enlightening for the subsequent product work.
I just feel that in too many projects this remains on the to-do list till the end, which is sad.
Another useful thought, in the vein and spirit of leading questions: realize that question order biases your user. If you’re asking them to list their priorities, but you’ve already asked them about cost and finances, then you’ve primed them to put things in that light.
It’s much the same mechanic as asking how much you would pay for a computer after asking either how much they’d pay for a toothbrush, or how much they’d pay for a car. The former will result in much smaller numbers than the latter.