What is product discovery?
Product discovery refers to the process of closely understanding the problems and needs of users and validating ideas for solutions before starting development.
Is a product discovery only about the start?
Though the discovery is considered an initial stage, continuous digital product discovery is a mindset that embraces the drive for customer feedback and makes it habitual. Product discovery learnings are obtained not just at the start of a project but also via ongoing engagement with consumers throughout the development lifecycle.
How to do a product discovery?
So here’s what is a product discovery process:
1. Assumption Mapping
It’s the first product discovery phase. Assumptions can be:
- Customer/User-related — behaviors, motivations, etc
- Technical — can we technically do this?
- Business-related — will people pay for it?
- Risk-orientated — will this idea survive changes in the future?
A customer journey map, business model canvas, and value proposition canvas can help you identify assumptions.
I closely work with CGS-team (true professionals), and a not long time ago, they successfully executed Homelike, so we can take it as an example.
A customer assumption can be: Finding temporary accommodation when moving to a new city for work is complicated and time-consuming.
2. Testing your assumptions
The next step is to test your assumptions.
The first step in the experiment board is to convert your assumptions into hypotheses.
We use the following structure to help you transform your assumption into a testable hypothesis:
Well will test this by [experiment]
We will know this to be true when [measurable result]
For our assumption, “Finding temporary accommodation when moving to a new city for work is complicated, expensive, and time-consuming,” the hypothesis will be:
We will test this by completing 20 interviews.
We will know this to be true when the target audience proves it.
When you finish this phase, you have effectively produced what is called an experiment backlog, a list of experiments that you want to accomplish. To begin, avoid reinventing the wheel. Build upon existing toolboxes (Jeff Patton’s Discovery Recipes and ideo.org’s Design Kit).
3. Looking for solutions
It’s time to conduct a broad study into potential answers to their concerns. You’ll need to answer the question: “How can you solve them?”.
Our problem can be solved by creating a web app providing a convenient booking experience, professional service, and fully-furnished and sparkling-clean homes with cooking facilities and suitable amenities.
4. Verifying and prototyping ideas
Now that you’ve written down your thoughts and provided some solutions, you need to read through them in depth to see if they’re suitable. It is critical to involve people at this stage, for example, through customer interviews.
- Is the quality of your concepts good?
- What do your customers think about them?
- Can we actually help them with their problems?
While validating ideas, it’s also a good idea to see if the validated solution is already on the market. That is why you should do a competitive analysis.
5. Prioritization and planning
The strategy has been established, users have been met, and solutions have been offered and tested. Now comes the prioritizing and planning step, in which you must determine which of the submitted ideas you will adopt.
- Which features should you introduce first?
- What is your MVP’s (Minimum Viable Product) scope?
This is because it is uncommon for all of the confirmed concepts to be implemented at the same time.
How to set up the team?
- Instead of organizing new sets of regular meetings to undertake collaborative discovery work, consider incorporating your discovery talks within existing delivery processes.
- Talk to everyone about ‘failure acceptance.’ We avoid failure in delivery by failing in discovery.
- Consider how each team member may contribute. Product development needs active participation from everyone on the team. It is a group obligation, not a task assigned to specific members.
Are there any product discovery tools?
The 3W3 Product Discovery Framework provides three layers of responses to the three W’s of the Problem Space: Why, Who, and What. It is a method for creating structure, logically organizing, and framing the Problem Space to avoid value and company viability risks.
Let’s deep-dive into each part:
In the framework of Product Discovery, we must begin with the true user problem and WHY it must be solved.
We need to evaluate how widespread the WHY is, how large its market is, how much, and how quickly it can grow.
We also need to understand why we or our firm are well positioned to solve the real user problem and what benefits our organization or we will gain from pursuing this opportunity.
We must concentrate on WHO — our product’s target buyers.
We can also divide our users into primary and secondary users. While we are first targeting primary users, secondary users may impact our buyers’ decisions.
Attempting to design a product for everyone either makes it too complex for everyone or dilutes its utility.
Any product idea that addresses the WHY (the genuine user problem) for its WHO is a WHAT (the users).
Features (SO-WHAT?) → Advantages (SO-WHAT?) → Benefits (SO-WHAT?) → Ultimate Benefit.
The customer’s self-interest and, eventually, how they will feel are aligned with the ultimate advantages.
As we stated in the first WHAT, there is usually more than one solution to a problem. As a result, we must prioritize.
Why is product discovery important?
In brief, product discovery aids in the development of better products.
Every piece of code written by a product team is instantly put into context when they interact directly with the individual who will be utilizing the platform or app they create.
The product discovery phase is 10 times cheaper than product development. You proceed to production with fewer risks if you have validated your hypothesis and developed a clear plan.
All in all
Every software development project should include a product discovery phase. Listening to consumer feedback and evaluating customer data may be the most effective strategy to steer your project in the proper direction.