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Product Discovery Framework For Digital Product Companies

The Product Discovery Framework helps us in providing structure to the product discovery process, and to coach product teams and agile teams into continuous product discovery.

Most people get excited when they are introduced to Product Discovery but they are usually overwhelmed by the unpredictability of the process. They don’t know what to do, when and how much. To solve this problem we have developed a product discovery framework that brings structure to the creative process of discovering what to build.

Product Discovery is often a messy process. It is non-linear and unpredictable and the size and type of work may vary tremendously every week.

 

The Product Discovery Framework is basically the implementation of the famous PDCA cycle for the two main activities required to successfully validate product ideas: Exploration and Validation. Both cycles are connected as an infinity symbol with a key decision point in between.

 

At every iteration of either loop, you have to decide if you want to exit (Kill or Build) if you want to iterate more of the current loop or if you want to jump to the other loop.

 

We also want to make sure that Product Discovery is always responding to a business outcome, a business goal or a problem with your product growth. That’s the reason the starting point is always the Goal.

The Goal

Everything starts with a goal. This goal can be a business objective, a problem with your product growth or perhaps a theme in the roadmap.

This step is the initial kick-off and it is fundamental for the success of the Product Discovery process.

Once the goal and success criteria is clear we must do the following:

  1. Design the Team
  2. Create a Supportive Environment
  3. Build Alignment

The Exploration Loop

The Exploration Loop consists of exploring the problem space. Here we want to really understand customers’ needs and pain points by combining qualitative with quantitative research techniques.

It is composed by three phases: Research, Ideate and Evaluate.

The result of the exploration loop are ideas worth pursuing: possible solutions for customers’ jobs to be done.

Research

The purpose of research is to understand users’ and customers’ needs.

Here you must combine qualitative techniques such as customer observation or interviews with quantitative research techniques like surveys or market research.

The jobs-to-be-done framework has proved very successful in really understanding needs and developing innovative solutions.

Ideate

The purpose of the Ideation step is to discover opportunities for achieving or improving the expected outcomes (needs) identified for our customers during the Research.

Evaluate

The purpose of Evaluation is to prioritize opportunities identified in the Ideation phase and decide which ones move forward towards the Validation loop.

The Validation Loop

The Validation Loop consists of exploring the solution space. We analyze at different levels of detail the possible solutions to customers’ needs in the form of prototypes.

Prototype

Depending on what you want to validate and to what level of accuracy there are different types of prototypes you might want to build, as well as different tools to build those prototypes.

You will design your experiments based on your validation questions or the product hypothesis you want to test.

Test

You can use the same prototype to perform different types of tests (or experiments). Sometimes the prototype is the actual test, sometimes it will be the platform upon you will run different types of tests.

We provide you with different templates to organize your hypothesis and transform them into effective tests, design experiment pairs and experiment funnels.

Learn

The last step of the validation loop is to make sense of the learnings. You must manage the insights resulting from experimentation and decide what to do next: further validation, prepare for delivery, go back to exploration, kill or pivot.

Decision Point

At every iteration of either loop of the Product Discovery Framework, there is always a visit to the decision point.

If you are in Exploration you might decide if you need further exploration of the problem space or if you can already move forward to the Validate Loop.

If you are in Validation, when you get to the decision point you must decide one of the following:

  • Kill – you do not go forward with the idea because the hypothesis was invalidated by one of the experiments
  • Pivot – you go back to the Exploring loop for the same idea because you learnt something new that requires research
  • Persevere – you continue in the Validation loop to perform more experiments on the same hypothesis because your insights are not conclusive

Connecting the Dots with Impact Mapping

We use an adaptation of the famous Impact Mapping tool in order to help you organize your Product Discovery tasks. Impact Mapping allows us to connect the goal to the delivery by analyzing actors, outcomes, ideas and experiments.

 

With Impact Mapping we can visually interconnect all the elements of the Product Discovery Framework, as well as provide visibility to stakeholders and alignment for the team.

 

However, Impact Mapping is a map, so it doesn’t change too often. So, to keep track of all your product discovery efforts, organize your team’s work and manage dependencies we recommend the adoption of Discovery Kanban.

Kanban for Product Discovery

Kanban for Product Discovery (AKA Discovery Kanban) is the adoption of the Kanban principles and practices to the upstream process of deciding what to build.

We recommend that you split the board into Exploration and Validation.

 

kanban product discovery framework

Summary of Product Discovery Framework

Every time we learn something new it’s useful to have certain guidelines that we can follow for a certain time. As we become experts we see things we don’t like, points for improvement or we just want to change things to adapt to our own context.

With our Product Discovery Framework, we bring you the guidelines to successfully getting started with Product Discovery in your Agile Team or Product Team.

Will You Succeed Or Fail As A Leader In Designing Your Digital Product Company?

Will You Succeed Or Fail As A Leader In Designing Your Digital Product Company?

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Gerard Chiva

About Gerard Chiva

Gerard Chiva works with digital businesses to drive market leadership by enabling operational excellence, customer focus, innovation and strategic alignment. He offers expert advice, consulting and coaching to companies who develop software based products which are looking for high growth rates.

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