Product discovery is crucial for entrepreneurs and startups aiming to develop impressive and problem-solving products. Even if a product has cutting-edge features, customers may not perceive its value.
Product discovery helps address this challenge by deeply understanding customers and developing products that precisely meet their needs. Failing to accurately prove or disprove assumptions about customers can lead to wasted time and resources building unnecessary products.
Effective product discovery reduces four key risks: value risk (customer adoption), usability risk (customer understanding), execution risk (feasibility), and viability risk (business fit). By mitigating these risks, companies can save significant time, money, and effort that would otherwise be wasted on irrelevant products.
To ensure a good product discovery process, it is essential to talk to target customers regularly, actively listen to their feedback, and incorporate it into the product development process. Additionally, involving product designers, engineers, stakeholders, and relevant team members brings diverse perspectives and strengthens product discovery.
The steps involved in a good product discovery process include:
1. Identifying a problem or opportunity:
Clearly defining the objective of the product discovery process by identifying a specific problem, question, or idea.
2. Analyzing the value of the product:
Assessing the product's value in relation to the market, competitors, and changes in customer behavior, rather than solely focusing on its day-to-day functioning.
3. Mapping out assumptions to be tested:
Engaging with individuals involved in the problem and understanding the underlying assumptions that support the solution or idea. Asking questions about the existence of the problem, current solutions, satisfaction levels, willingness to pay, and how customers recognize a resolved problem helps clarify the scenario.
4. Setting up an experiment:
Testing the critical assumptions identified by using research tools or building a minimum viable product (MVP) to reach better conclusions with reduced risk.
5. Validating with target customers:
Applying the experiment on potential users, not internal staff, to confront the idea with those who would actually use or purchase the product. Seeking support from customer support, service areas, or salespeople can help identify potential customers.
6. Discussing the findings:
Compiling and presenting the experiment results to clients and the team, remaining open to new questions and suggestions. It is common to encounter resistance when findings contradict previously held ideas.
7. Taking action:
Based on the discussion of the results, deciding the next course of action. Evaluating if risks have been addressed, such as viability and usability, and assessing if modifications to the current product can solve the most important issues without major changes.
Product discovery is an essential process that enables understanding of target customers and minimizes the risk of creating irrelevant products. While it may not provide all the answers, it encourages active and disciplined pursuit of the necessary insights.