Are you about to build your app or Product? Well, wait! Have you performed the product discovery phase? Whether you take it as a service or perform it yourself, product discovery is a crucial phase toward your product’s success. If you cannot understand your Product well, how can you build it well and distribute it well? Therefore, product discovery comes into the picture, and you must excel at it if you want to build an industry-leading product. This article will deliver everything about product discovery, why it’s important, its benefits, principles, and techniques. Entrepreneurs, mobile app development companies performing iOS Android product discovery phase, and project managers can refer to this article and excel at the product discovery phase.
Understanding the Product Discovery Phase
Before understanding product discovery, we would like to mention the story of Quibi, a streaming platform for tv shows.
Why Quibi, a streaming app was, shut down?
In 2020, Quibi was launched with a new and innovative content delivery method targeting younger demographics where the episode length was 10 minutes, delivering quick bites of content. In a very short duration of time, the company’s app registered its name in the top 50 most downloaded iPhone apps in the USA. But in just 6 months, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was shutting down (Source).
Why did Quibi shut down? The answer is a failed Product discovery phase. The company didn’t lay a strong plan for its Product. The verge analyzed 11 reasons why Quibi crashed and burned in less than a year, pointing indirectly toward a failed product discovery phase (Source). It failed as an idea for a product.
Defining Product Discovery
Product Discovery is essential for every Product where product owners closely analyze users’ problems and needs. The analyzed report is then validated to “how a product can solve the identified problems.” Users are a key element in this process, where product owners continuously take surveys and feedback prior to discovering a product that will solve their problems.
In short, product owners introduce a product according to the market’s needs instead of building a product and convincing the customers to use it. It is common to discard a product if it shows negative results in the product discovery phase.
Importance of Product Discovery
Product Discovery acts as a guide for the process of product development. Once the idea is validated and efficiently solves a problem in the market, the product discovery stage prepares an understanding for designers and researchers about what users prefer will like in the Product. Product Discovery also builds a close relationship with the users aligning their preferences and design thinking with the Product itself, solving real problems for them.
Steps in Product Discovery Phase
There is no fixed outline or structured framework for the Product Discovery process. It completely depends on how you want to perform the product discovery phase. But here is a logical framework for the Product discovery phase.
Understand users and collect problems
Do not step straight into building the Product as Quibi did, as mentioned above at the start of this heading. Spend a decent amount of time with users through interviews, surveys, feedback, or any other means to frame the map of your journey.
Analyze the identified problems
Once you connect with your users and collect data, you must spend a concentrated time analyzing it. Make groups of the problems and find the most critical issues from the list. This phase is like preparing multiple hypotheses for a research paper. There can be the main problem; then there can be sub-problems that a product will solve.
Ideate products to solve identified problems
Now the time arrives when you ideate products that can solve the identified problems. You might have a team for brainstorming the best ideas for problems. In this phase, you will also analyze the confidence level you get from a suggested product. Will the Product be successful in solving the main problems and subproblems? This is the main question that will build confidence level for your products. There can be multiple product alternatives for identified problems.
Testing the ideated products
With the ideated Product, you must test your Product. You can build a minimum viable product /Poc/Prototype with all the features and functionalities. It can even be a paper prototype testing use case. Users again play a key role here since they give feedback on the products and how satisfying your suggested product is.
Benefits of product discovery process
Product discovery brings several benefits to modern product development. Here are the main benefits you gain from performing product discovery.
Saving the resources
In product development, time and money are the most important resources for entrepreneurs. If we imagine designing and researching the Product without the product discovery phase, then the involved teams will have to spend so much time. Whereas, with product discovery, teams directly get to know most of the pointers from users.
Agile and innovative Product
Steps such as collecting the problems, analyzing them, and building a minimum viable product for the problems assist you in bringing an innovative product that is extremely agile in performing tasks. “A really great idea is 90% of the work” –Steve Jobs. Product Discovery polishes a product idea to its best.
Less burden on designers and development team
Imagine that you are building a mobile app. If you have performed the product discovery phase, then you are reducing the work of mobile app development companies and cutting the cost of your iOS-Android Product Discovery phase that you take as a service from them. The final delivery of the Product takes lesser time to come up live.
Making a network with users
Since the product discovery phase involves communication with users on a regular basis. Even before your Product goes into the development stage, users in the market get awareness about your Product. And it can also act as mouth publicity for your upcoming Product.
Principles to keep in mind during Product Discovery to overcome possible challenges
The product Discovery process is not as easy as you might think. There can be numerous challenges attached to the process. But the principles below can help you overcome most of the possible challenges.
Do not be afraid of failing
You might have to revamp your idea multiple times. Else your product MVP will not address the user problems efficiently or does not solve a real-life problem. So, do not be afraid of failing! Stay attached to your original idea and keep room for revamping your Product. The more failures you face, the closer you get to bring a perfect product.
Take enough time in the process
Do not rush the Product Discovery process. A new problem or the inclusion of a new feature will ask more time. And, if you do not give yourself proper time, you might lose in the upcoming phases of product development. Do not start the development process until and unless you are 100% sure about what you will build and what it will bring to the users.
Believe that Users are key to perfection and growth
Do not treat your users just as ordinary people. Your users are the key to making your Product perfect and welcoming you with growth in the end. Focus on every detail of data you collect from the users. Focus on every feedback they provide during the product delivery phase.
Do not forget to Validate everything
In the end, the goal of product discovery is to reach the validation of your idea. Validate every detail you gain from users. Also, explore more ways to validate your idea. Create more assumptions and hypotheses and validate them with real-time research. Do not bring changes to your idea due to user suggestions or feedback. Validate the suggestions and feedback before revamping your Product.
Do not stop product Discovery
Even when you finish building your Product and make it live, do not stop the product discovery process. There is always room for polishing your products towards excellence with new features and functionalities. Keep exploring how you can deliver more to your users to improve their overall experience.
The key questions to ask during the product discovery process
Product Discovery brings many questions to answer for an entrepreneur. One has to identify as many questions as possible while performing discovery. Here are a few of the key questions to answer.
- What are my assumptions about my idea? How will the Product end up? Why I chose this path?
- Why are our users leaving the discovery phase? How could we improve our features to increase their dwell time?
- Does the idea align with the overall team goals?
- Does my idea align with the region I am targeting?
- What if I do not work on my idea, and is the problem highly critical?
There can be an ‘n’ number of questions, but make sure you answer the questions mentioned above.
Techniques for product discovery
Now that we have introduced product discovery in detail, it is time to explore some effective techniques for product discovery.
There can be nothing better than interviews for efficient product discovery. You must start by preparing a list of questions you want to ask your customers. Interview your customers with a fresh mind so that you can grasp their feedback in a raw format.
When we refer to Analytics, we always assume it is something that is performed after product development. Analytics is used for measuring the performance of a product. But it is a highly efficient technique during product discovery. For example, you can analyze your MVP response even before releasing your final Product. And analytics will assist you in building a perfect product.
Implementing the 5 Whys technique
As the name suggests, we are going to add 5 whys which come up as a strong technique for the product discovery phase. It is highly efficient when you want to find the root of the problem. For example, if you are trying to find out why customers are uninstalling your app. You can implement the 5 why technique like this.
- Why are customers uninstalling our app?
- Why is our app not delivering the optimum experience?
- Why is our location feature not working?
- Why is our location feature not showing concise and accurate locations?
- Why is our app failing to estimate the street address?
Finally, we concluded that a location feature was not working in the app and its root cause was “failure in estimating the street address.” And this is what caused users to uninstall the app.
Undoubtedly product discovery phase will polish your product idea. Until and unless you do not understand your Product roots, you cannot solve the problems of users in the market. Our above guide will assist you if you want to explore everything about product discovery. Further, mobile app development companies can take the reference from the article to deliver top-notch Product Discovery Phase service to their customers.
Q1. What is a product discovery?
Product discovery is a process of understanding the real problem in the market and designing a product that effectively solves the problem.
Q2. Why Product discovery is important?
Without a product discovery phase, it is not possible to understand your product to the root. Until and unless you do not understand your product to the roots, you cannot bring the best solution in the market.
Q3. What are the stages involved in product discovery phase?
The product discovery phase includes understanding the users and collecting problems as a first step. Once you identify problems in the market, you then ideate a product that solves the identified problems. The ideated product is then tested to see if it efficiently solves the problems.
Q4. What are the principles to follow during product discovery phase?
Do not be afraid of failing since you might have to revamp your idea multiple times. Take enough time for the product discovery phase instead of rushing things. Ensure that users are key to your perfect product delivery. Further, validate everything and never stop the product discovery phase.
Q5. What are the techniques to use in product discovery process?
There are no fixed techniques, but you can follow some of the techniques. Interviewing customers is one of the strongest product discovery techniques. Further, you can implement analytics at every stage to validate your work. Finally, the 5 whys technique will help you in the product discovery phase.