ADAPT Methodology® Blog

Product Discovery Process For Digital Product Companies

Product Discovery Process For Digital Product Companies

In this article, we explore some ideas to help you set up your initial product discovery process. This is by no means a one-size-fits-all receipt, but we hope it will provide you with some ideas to design your product discovery process or at least a basic starting point that you can tweak going forward.

ADAPT Methodology® is a unique Digital Product Development framework to change traditional project-centric companies toward product-led companies

Society changed and leaders need support in the way how they lead and design their digital product organizations, that is the reason why the ADAPT Methodology® was created, but now let’s get a deep dive into the Product Discovery Process topic.

First of all, if you landed on this article because you were looking for information about Product Discovery, please check some of our previous articles before reading further:

Now, it is time to design your product discovery process.

Design Your Product Discovery Process

To effectively plan and run your product discovery process you must understand the different types of activities it is composed of, their duration, dependencies, and required people.

Product Discovery Process - Product Discovery Framework - AKTIA Solutions

Some exploration activities and validation experiments will require more time than others to prepare and different running times. Some experiments will take longer than a week to prepare and execute, while others might take just a few days.

You must also account for the time required to recruit customers, and users and to block stakeholders’ and management’s agendas.

It doesn’t make much sense to define a specific product discovery process upfront. What works for us is to have a clear goal and explore and validate as fast as possible.

It is very unlikely that you can define upfront how long is it going to take to explore the problem space, validate the solution space, or if you will have to go back to exploring after initial validation.

So, rather than a time-boxed approach, we recommend continuous approach with certain checkpoints along the way.

Example of Product Discovery Process

In general, it is good practice to provide some certainty about what is going to happen, especially if this is your first time with Product Discovery.

You must provide clarity about the plan, although you know it will change frequently depending on what you learn along the way, at least you have a starting point.

You might also need to book people’s agendas in advance. So the overall process might be a bit wasteful at the beginning, but this is better than nothing, and as people get used to it you will be able to improve and make it more agile.

In the example below you can see a possible setup of a 7-week product discovery process for a new product idea or big theme in the product roadmap.

Product Discovery Process - Lean Product Management - AKTIA Solutions

Week #1

We get started by kicking off the product discovery process. Here, we set up the team, align with management and stakeholders, agree on the product discovery goal, and draft a plan for the upcoming weeks to make sure everybody is on the same page, agendas are booked and customers/users are recruited for research and validation.

Week #2

In the second week, we can devote most of our time to investigating the problem space, gathering data, researching the market, and preparing interviews, surveys, or other research techniques for the upcoming week.

The goal of this week is to identify our research questions. Those riskiest assumptions for which we don’t have any evidence.

Week #3

During this week of the product discovery process, we spend most of our time with customers and/or users getting answers to our research questions.

We might also launch some research that might take a while to get results from, like a survey or market research.

Week #4

Assuming we didn’t learn something that forces us to go back to square one, now it is time to run an ideation workshop and select the best ideas for validation.

Week #5

Time to start prototyping and testing with users.

Here, again, depending on what you want to validate it might take more than a week to prepare and run it. But, if you want a tip to make sure you don’t build big stuff here, is that you focus on your assumptions again.

What are the questions you need answers to?

What is the minimum thing you can build to answer those questions? Are they desirability, usability, or feasibility risks?

Week #6

Another round of validation. Also, perhaps to analyze results from longer tests that begin the previous week.

Week #7

Last week of the product discovery process. It is time to decide what to do with your insights. Shall you kill, pivot, or persevere?

Feedback Loops

A product discovery process with fixed time-boxing can be hard to implement and counterproductive.

What is important, without a doubt, is to provide visibility, ensure that we incorporate all the necessary feedback, analyze the learnings, correct the course if necessary, and that we are all aligned toward the objective of the product discovery process.

So, you should plan for some recurrent meetings. As you can see in the figure we schedule the following meetings, as well as the Daily Planning meeting:

  • Weekly Planning
  • Weekly Review
  • Strategic Review
  • Retrospective

You can get more information about those feedback loops in this article. And in our ‘Product Discovery’ ebook.

Kanban for Product Discovery

To keep track of all your product discovery process tasks and dependencies, we strongly recommend you manage your work with a proper Kanban System for Product Discovery.

Stakeholders, managers, other teams, and your team members need visibility of the process and the learnings.

Did you like this article?

We enable leaders to become highly valued and recognized to make an impact on the World by helping them to design Digital Product Companies that will thrive and nourish in the Digital Age, we do this by applying our own ADAPT Methodology®.

If you are interested in knowing if you have what it takes to design and build a great digital product company simply take our Digital Leadership Influence Scorecard.

If you want to know how we can help you to start your transformation please check out our: Training.

If you are interested in doing a transformation in your company please check out our: Consulting.