Product discovery can help your business take a product from its concept phase to active development, all while focusing on the people you intend to serve.
In the earliest stages of a product’s development, its direction remains unclear and its eventual viability is all but unknown. Working around these unknowns is possible, but it’s best to eliminate the guesswork first, before you begin crafting your product and pouring resources into its development.
In this article, you’ll learn all about what you can achieve with product discovery, as well as a few great tips to help you get the most out of the process.
What is product discovery?
Product discovery is all about unearthing the details of what your product should accomplish—and why. As a process, product discovery helps drive away uncertainty and cut down on the associated risks of developing new products. It does this in a number of simple, yet powerful ways:
Figuring out what customers want
Product discovery attempts to answer the question “What do our customers actually want?” You can’t possibly meet your audience’s needs if you don’t know what they are.
Collecting diverse perspectives is essential to the product discovery process, allowing experience and expertise to be harnessed from your team members on an individual level. Pulling information from any related focus groups at this stage can be quite helpful as well. Taking time to listen to customers’ problems and consider them carefully before building out a suitable solution is key to creating something they’ll gladly pay money for.
Fueling product delivery efforts
Before product delivery can take place, product discovery must be handled. At the delivery stage, product features or deliverables are outlined in detail and hands-on development begins in earnest. Bypassing product discovery to reach the delivery step sooner often creates confusion in the face of technical uncertainty. Your team needs to know what to do before they can decide on how they’ll do it.
Product discovery tips and tricks
Getting your product discovery process right takes more than a bit of brainstorming and a bulleted list. You’ll need to establish priorities you can refer to throughout the entire development process as well as the rest of your product’s evolution. That being said, the product discovery process does not need to be a major struggle to complete. These tips should help you to keep yours on track:
1. Dive into research for deeper product discovery
Research is the basis for effective product discovery. Data absorbed from your target audience, team members, and current users can directly affect the shape and outlook of your product. The core features that you may have assumed would matter most for your project’s success could be proven to be insignificant when you account for the insights derived from focus groups, interviews, and analytics.
2. Ignore all but your ideal customers’ opinions
Although obtaining information on customer wants and needs is essential to the overall success of your product discovery process, limiting the opinions you take seriously to a select few is best. Your ideal customers are the ones who will ultimately help keep your business alive and growing for years to come. Listening to them and ignoring the rest will help maximize the value your product or service provides without confusing its purpose.
3. Use visual aids for more natural product discovery
There are numerous templates of mental maps, grids, and matrices available for teams to use in their product discovery sessions. These visual aids often help highlight aspects of a given project that might not have been readily apparent otherwise. Take the “validation grid” as an example. This simple visual organization tool can help tremendously in defining focus group interaction goals and interpreting early experimental results in greater depth.
4. Dial back the details
Product discovery as a process is best suited to the earliest stages of your product’s conceptualization and eventual development. Do not mix product discovery with product delivery—the two serve separate purposes for a reason. Delivery is all about the details, but product discovery centers on defining the motivation behind your designs. You should aim to validate the problems you’ve identified among your customers before you begin solving them. This comes down to highlighting both your primary assumptions and all associated risks. Save user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designs for the delivery phase of development.
Product discovery improves both products and loyalty
During product discovery sessions, the founding concepts driving your products’ design choices are improved, refined, and optimized for impact among your target customer base. But embracing product discovery does more than just make your products better: It also encourages loyalty among prospective customers through thoughtful design choices based on their actual interests.
To learn more about product discovery and how a digital product agency such as VeryCreatives can help enrich yours, reach out to our team today.