What is product discovery?
Product discovery is the process by which product teams learn about a problem and opportunity space in which they are trying to create a solution for.
The goal of product discovery is to generate a shared understanding within the team about the problem and potential solutions. This understanding is then used to inform the product roadmap and help prioritize product features.
Why is product discovery important?
Product discovery reduces the time to value of a product or feature as it helps product teams focus on the right problems and build the right solutions. Without a good understanding of the problem and opportunity space, it is easy for teams to build features that no one wants.
Who is responsible for product discovery?
Product discovery is typically run by a trifecta or triad including the product manager, product designer and engineer. In some cases it could also involved a user research and data scientist who bring in qualitative and quantitative insights and perspectives to the discovery process
What are the steps involved in product discovery?
Product discovery emerged in the early 2000s as a better way for product teams to build compared to the then method of lengthy, requirements-steeped product development process.
What makes for good product discovery is the collaboration with users or customers through the conceptualisation process. The main steps involved in product discovery are:
1. Understand the problem
2. Define the problem
3. Ideate potential solutions
4. Iterate and validate solutions
Read more about Essential Customer Discovery Process for B2B Startups
What are the techniques used in product discovery?
There are several tactics and frameworks associated with product discovery today. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to tools but popular ones used in product discovery process include:
- Customer interviews: involves asking questions from customers or users via offline and offline communication to understand their needs, pain points and desires.
- User story maps: Help teams to visualize the user flow and track progress on features
- Journey maps: Help teams to understand the user experience and identify areas for improvement
- User or usability testing: allows product teams to assess whether the proposed solution actually solves
- Prototyping: prototypes are used to communicate and validate proposed solutions with users. They can be used to test different user flows and understand how users interact with the proposed solution.
- A/B tests: A/B tests are used to quickly validate whether a solution actually solves the problem it was created to solve.
- Customer journey mapping: is a technique used to define and organize product features. It involves creating a map of the user journey, which helps to identify areas where the product could be improved.
- Assumption tests: is used to validate assumptions about the product and its features. This usually involves conducting user research and testing the product with real users.
- Opportunity solution trees: This technique involves creating a tree-like diagram of the potential solutions for a problem, which can help to identify the best course of action.
- Ethnographic studies: are used to understand the behavior of users. This usually involves observing users in their natural environment and conducting interviews.
- Jobs to be done: is a technique used in product discovery to help organize product features based on the users goals or objectives. This technique involves understanding the user’s needs and wants, and then designing the product accordingly.
Why is user research important during product discovery
User research is important during product discovery as it allows product teams to validate their assumptions about the product and its features. This usually involves conducting user research and testing the product with real users.
User research can take many forms but some common ones include interviews, surveys, focus groups, usability testing and A/B testing. User research is important as it provides insights into how users interact with the product and what their needs and pain points are.
Read more about The Power of User Interviews in Building Successful Products
Why is it important to do product discovery continuously?
Product discovery should be seen as a continuous process, rather than something that is only done at the beginning of a product development cycle. This is because the problem and opportunity space is constantly changing and product teams need to be agile in their approach in order to build the right solutions.
Continuous product discovery also allows product teams to validate their assumptions and learnings from previous discovery processes to build better products.