While every product manager has their best practices and preferred techniques for product discovery, the process is always roughly the same. Product discovery describes the activities required to determine if and why a product should be developed and offered. This increases the chances of developing a product that users actually want and need, and achieving product success. Product discovery involves answering the following questions:
- What specific value should the product create for users and customers?
- What problem should it solve or what benefit should it create?
- What makes the product stand out?
- How does it differ from competing offerings?
To answer the above questions, we suggest you use techniques such as direct observation, user surveys, prototyping, etc.
4 Big Risks that surround Product Management
Product decisions are always subject to uncertainty. We conduct product discoveries because we want to reduce the risks associated with what we want to build. Not conducting discoveries usually leads to a mismatch between user needs and manufactured products.4 main risks that the Product Manager faces on day to day basis:
- Value risk (whether customers will buy it or users will use it).
- Usability risk (whether users can figure out how to use it).
- Feasibility risk (whether our engineers can build what we need with the time, skills, and technology we have)
- Business viability risk (whether this solution will work for the various aspects of our business)
Product discovery framework for Agile teams
At CoreLine, we successfully use the agile method to implement our projects. Specifically, we chose Jira from Atlassian to ensure efficient and transparent project management.
The entire product discovery process is focused on cross-functional collaboration between product, design and engineering. Agile principles are applied in the process.
Agile methods are generally used by software product teams. On the other hand, when working on a feature or an epic, the team has a clear idea of what they will deliver and its value. This helps them prioritize the most important parts of the project.
Together with development team, stakeholders should be involved into the product discovery cycle
Let’s have a run through for each part of the flow
Identify Business problems - Companies often start by tapping into an opportunity or business problem they want to solve. This is a good starting point. However, it is even more important to ensure that the solution delivers the desired outcome, is valuable to users, and can be delivered.
The goals of the business and the principles of the product are the foundations of any business. Defining these goals can help avoid conflict and dilute the idea.
Ideate On potential solutions - This can be done by answering the questions to evaluate the capabilities of the product:
- What specific problem is solved by the product? (value proposition)
- For whom are we solving this problem? (target market)
- How success will be measured? (Business metrics)
- What are the alternatives? (current competitors)
- Why is our product better suited to solve the problem? (our differences)
- How will we bring the product to market? (exit strategy)
- What factors are critical to success? (Requirements and risks)
Frame the idea - Narrow down and prioritise solutions based on value. Ranking problems by their relative value to the business and users is a good way to begin the decision-making process. A team that has shared experience in conducting interviews with stakeholders and users - and has synthesized that knowledge - is well positioned to take on the hard work of discussing this important issue
Set the discovery context - identifying, describing, and selecting key users and customers at each stage of development is an important part of working on the vision and product, and it makes sense to involve the entire product team in this process if it is already assembled.
Visualise the idea - using visuals to showcase your ideas helps you see them through a different lens.
Conduct user research - At this stage, product teams rely heavily on quantitative and qualitative research to find answers. Some useful tools and techniques to use include user research, focus groups, observation, customer interviews, data analytics, competitive research, empathy mapping, and more.
Define feasibility & value - During product development it is important to check how feasible the idea is for the company. Is it feasible with the budget and resources available, and would it fit your brand’s reputation and ethical stance?
For example, if a brand built on sustainable ethics suddenly partners with one of the big oil companies because it lowers the cost of their latest packaging development, it probably will not go over well with customers.
Once you understand the basics, product discovery is easy to integrate into your workflow. Remember that it is a non-linear process that will provide you with valuable insights and a deeper understanding of your customers.
The more you learn about their needs and problems, the better you can make decisions about new features and updates. Make discovery a constant in your product development and you will be able to solve specific problems and provide real value.