BlogProduct DiscoveryWhy Is Product Discovery Important?

Why Is Product Discovery Important?

Product Discovery has one clear goal: help teams to identify and focus on a pain point for a specific target segment, and develop a product to resolve that pain.

It’s a critical stage in the process of developing a product or service because it allows you to prove or disprove your assumptions and avoid wasting time and resources in building something nobody wants.

In short, Product Discovery helps you validate the problem you’re aiming to solve, achieve product/market fit, and increase the chance to succeed in today’s market.

This article will provide you an overview of what Product Discovery is and why it is SO IMPORTANT for any type of business.

What is Product Discovery?

Product Discovery is an iterative process that helps you measure whether a product or service is actually solving the problem it aims to solve.

It usually includes choosing a market segment, identifying that segment’s core problem, proposing hypotheses to test, and developing interactive prototypes to validate your solution.

Product Discovery is crucial for reducing risk and ensuring that your product has potential value for your customers. It also offers teams higher confidence in their path forward to a successful implementation and delivery.

problem space and solution space diagram by tim herbig
Problem Space and Solution Space. Source: Tim Herbig

Typically, companies working on a high-risk project either focus on the Problem Space or the Solution Space. Product Discovery is, or at least should be, about the problem space.

In fact, Product Discovery is not necessarily about developing and shipping features, but about identifying the right problem and understanding how to add value to customers’ experience.

Why Product Discovery is important for your business

The main reason to conduct a Product Discovery is that it allows you to increase your level of certainty that you’re addressing the right problem, for the right customer, with the right product.

At the same time, Product Discovery is relatively cheap and fast compared to Product Delivery (developing the product or a feature). 

So, you’d want to validate your assumptions and find possible flaws during this stage because it will cost you 10-100x more to make changes after starting development.

A woman working on a product wireframe during a product discovery session

How Product Discovery helps companies build successful products

Product Discovery helps teams create products and services that solve such a deep and genuine need that customers cannot live without them. 

When you validate your solution through a Product Discovery process, you’re a lot more likely to deliver a better project. A validated product enjoys higher demand and greater market success.

Here’s why:

  • You’re validating your market segment and the problem to solve. Plus, you’re thinking consciously about what the product needs to do to satisfy a particular need.
  • You have every person involved in the project in the same room early, which allows you to align criteria and expectations and work together towards a common goal.
  • Since you haven’t invested heavily in a particular direction yet, you’re less susceptible to a sunk cost fallacy. A product discovery process gives you space to think about what you need to build.

How it helps lowering risks

Creating a digital product is a high-risk endeavor. Projects like this can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and they have a significant failure rate.

Without a process to prove or disprove assumptions, companies may be wasting tremendous amounts of money, time, and resources chasing unattainable or undesirable goals. 

A Product Discovery process is vital to reduce risk and increase the likelihood that the product will satisfy your target users’ needs.

Here’s how Product Discovery can reduce risk:

  • Provides early validated proof that the hypotheses driving feature selection and priority are sound, allowing the team to confidently make critical product decisions.
  • Prevents rework and constant changes in design and development. A Product Discovery process helps define a fixed scope for each iteration. At the same time, since the UX/UI is clearly established beforehand, you avoid a lot of design rework. Since you spend less time building your product, you spend less money.
  • Uncovers the true scope of implementation.
  • It maximizes the chances of investment paying dividends and reduces the risk of your product tanking.

How it helps teams build better products faster.

Product Discovery also allows teams to deliver a product faster. That is because this process enables you to:

  • Identify rabbit holes early and learn how to avoid them.
  • Clarify what kind of solution you’re building and why.
  • Perform rapid iterations early before the product team invests time and effort going in the wrong direction. Working in rapid iterations is hugely effective because it allows teams to solve problems by priority and validate assumptions and gain new knowledge quickly. 
  • Have a clear direction for the project, meaning fewer tweaks, last-minute changes, and costly pivots.
man tiping in a laptop product discovery

Benefits of Product Discovery

A Product Discovery process has many advantages for companies working on a new product from scratch or on a new iteration.

These are some the main benefits:

  1. Better understand the value of your product. Product Discovery helps you recognize how successful a solution (or feature) is to solve a customer’s problem.
  2. Deliver better value within the same budget. A Product Discovery gives you a better frame to prioritize features because it helps you better understand the customer, and the problem. Better prioritization means you can deliver more value within the same budget.
  3. Uncover opportunities. Product Discovery also leads to exploring new ideas and better use of company resources.
  4. Prove assumptions and discover risks so you can address them earlier. The discipline of a Product Discovery helps expose assumptions and risks you were taking that hadn’t been acknowledged. The sooner you understand your risks and assumptions, the better because you can address them.

When you should conduct a Product Discovery

Product Discovery should happen as early as possible in every high-risk project you decide to embark upon. The reason behind this is that before you spend precious time and resources building something, it’s absolutely key to find your product-market fit.

Having said that, it’s also worth mentioning that Product Discovery is not just a one-time thing. It’s a continuous procedure that teams should constantly be doing throughout the development process, during launch, and beyond. 

As you iterate a software product, you’ll learn more about it, about the problem you’re solving, and your target segment.

This process is known as Continuous Discovery, and it includes:

  • Collecting user feedback: harvesting feedback from different sources such as user interviews and product analytics to understand how your users’ value your product.
  • Testing how users use your product: where they get lost, and what the bottlenecks are.
  • Reaching out to users: asking for their opinion, and figuring out the problems they’re struggling with.

Although Product Discovery is crucial for any high-risk project, this doesn’t mean that you should always conduct a discovery process for every feature you implement or every project your company carries out.

Before deciding to conduct a Product Discovery, you have to consider what are the costs of validating an idea and the costs of making a new decision, plus the risks of failing in that decision.

If the costs of performing a discovery are higher than the impact of making a particular change, or if the project you are carrying has a low risk, then conducting a Product Discovery may not be worth it at all.

An example of this could be that you want to implement a small tweak in your product (like changing a button) or develop a low-risk feature that won’t represent a significant time investment for your team.

How we help companies achieve product-market fit

At Bixlabs, we help top-tier startups validate their business ideas, build user-centered digital products, and achieve product-market fit.

Through an iterative Product Discovery process, we ensure your product aligns perfectly with your customers and your business’ needs.

If you’re looking for an experienced, fully dedicated team to help you build your product, give us a call.

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