What is product discovery?
Definition: Product discovery is the process of identifying and evaluating potential new product ideas, and determining which ideas have the greatest potential to meet the needs and wants of the target market.
Product discovery is an early stage and the foundation of the product development process because it answers “what to build and why.”
This “make or break” project discovery process decides if the project should go ahead, saving resources such as money, time, and effort in the developing phase.
Product discovery process
The product discovery process has 4 stages:
1. Understand what your customers need but don’t have
The most desirable product or feature is the one that solves a burning problem efficiently. Therefore, product discovery starts with understanding and defining your customers' high-priority needs and problems.
Conducting research through competition analysis, data analysis, surveys, etc., is the best way to get in customers' shoes.
After spotting the problem, the team can easily define the need with this formula:
“X needs Y, so Z”
An example: “Project managers need a solution that will help them save time on organizing and prioritizing their daily tasks.”
The problem/need must be a big deal for customers.
To double check, the team conducts a SWOT analysis or asks these questions:
- Is this problem a major pain point?
- How much value will we bring if we solve it?
2. Ideate potential solutions for their biggest problems/needs
Bringing members of the team with different specialties (designer and developer) can help brainstorm and find various solutions to the problems/needs defined beforehand.
The team can define user-friendly and straightforward solutions with this formula:
“ If X had Y, they could Z”
An example: “If project managers had a to-do list sent to them every day, they could save time on organizing their day.”
In this stage, the team decides on the most efficient solution and proposes a way to incorporate it into a feature/product.
An example, “For project managers to spend less time in the morning organizing their daily tasks and meetings, we need to introduce a “daily update” feature.
The team then needs to specify what the feature should look like.
For example, the project manager will receive a daily update from Mindmesh on how many cards they have in the inbox and how many meetings they have in their calendar in the morning. They’ll start their day knowing what to do.
4. Test & create a roadmap
The last step is testing the feature/product through A/B testing, customer interviews, etc., to get feedback directly from the customers.
Once the team has completed the testing phase, they create a roadmap (definition of key features, resources, milestones, timetable) for the development.
Who participates in the product discovery process
The participants in the product discovery process are:
- Project managers
- UI/UX experts
- Business analysts
Working together on every stage of the discovery and development process saves time and decreasing the risk for future errors.
The results are ideas from different angles through cross-collaboration and iterations.