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Agile methodologies revolutionized how products are being built. But building is just half of the problem. Deciding what to build is just as (if not more) important.
Deciding what to build is discovery. Shipping is delivery.
Discovery needs to be treated as an activity on its own. With clear activities, tracking and deliverables, just as we do with delivering working products.
Customer Discovery requires a certain mindset. That is more important than a framework:
Only then delivery can begin.
We are thought that products have to solve problems to be valuable (vitamin vs aspirin analogy). But the best products started without a clear problem to solve. Facebook, Disney etc....
Opportunities encompass customer needs, pain points & desires. Think opportunities, not problems.
Be aware: the opportunity space is ♾ infinite. So the core job of the product team is not only discovering the opportunities but framing them in a way that makes them actionable.
Is a simple way to visually represent the path one may take to reach a milestone. It is the main system of record for tracking the discovery process:
Using this visualization creates a shared understanding for the whole team which makes decision-making transparent. It keeps everyone on the same page & eliminates fighting over which feature to build next.
"Should we build this feature?" is a question product people ask themselves a lot. It's a mistake.
Managing by outcome is only as good as the defined outcome. There are 3 types, starting from the general to the actionable:
Business metrics are usually lagging indicators. They are hard to impact in an agile environment. Product outcomes are better. To get more specific KPIs could be used.
It represents an artifact that helps a team uncover opportunities. It starts with a question related to the outcome (for example "how do people entrain themselves with videos?" if the goal is to increase time spent with a streaming app):
Customers don't know what they want but talking to them is still useful. "What needs, pain points or desires matter the most?" is the fundamental question:
The insights from interviews should allow a product team to evolve a map of opportunities that could be considered for solutions:
No matter how disciplined the team, the map will be messy. Embrace the messiness. Don't try to make it more scientific than it needs
Once the product team decides to pursue an opportunity solutions can be considered:
Every proposed solution is based on assumptions, which are hard to spot. One way to spot them is to imagine the solution is already functional and then draw a story map with all the steps. Assumptions will become clear:
- The user will engage with our product: Desirability Assumption. Are we sure he will?
- The user will follow the steps in our imagines solution: Usability Assumption: Are we sure the flow makes sense?
- The whole system will work: Feasibility Assumption: Are we sure we can build it?
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