Intro To Modern Product Discovery

Discovery vs Delivery

Product DiscoveryDeciding what to build.
Product DeliveryBuilding it.

The continuing trend with product delivery is to ship faster and faster. So what's the equivalent for product discovery?

There has been a very similar evolution.


  • The waterfall method: periodically checking in with stakeholders and a lot of product requirement misunderstandings.
  • Agile encourages us in smaller batch sizes and then show it to people if we're on the right track. The "people" now are the potential clients.
  • The historical change also shows a leaning towards "design thinking". Change By Design and The Design Of Everyday Things are good examples of books in this particular area.
  • The Lean Startup really pushed the idea of building things that our customers want. Steve Blank wrote a lot of the foundations of this with The Four Steps To Epiphany.
  • The "Jobs To Be Done" framework gets us to start asking the question about "Are we solving the right problems".
  • Another new methodology is "The Design Sprint". A great way to get straight into the face of our customers.
  • Another use is OKRs with Objects and Key Results to put focus on outcomes. This prevents us from being obsessed with features. It also has a focus on qualitative objective combined with quantitative results.

A lot of these methods come from the same underlying principles. What is important is to not be dogmatic and understand the frameworks are based on best practises but best practises come from first principles.

So what's our goal? Our goal is to learn FAST and answer:

  1. Are we meeting stakeholder needs?
  2. Can customers use it?
  3. Do customers want our solution?
  4. Are we solving a problem customers care about?

We are changing our mindset from "output" to "outcomes". We now have a heuristic for product discovery.

We may not know if we are solving the right problems, but we know that customers want our solutions.

Opportunity Solution Trees

Peak -- what makes experts stick out from novices. What are the mental structures we have in our head helping us make decisions quicker and easier?

We can do this with Opportunity Solution Trees.

Desired Outcome => n Opportunities => n Solutions => n Experiments

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend the first 55 minutes brainstorming and 5 minutes solving. -- Paraphrasing Einstein.

How Opportunities Help Drive The Design Outcomes

"If the desired outcome is to increase engagement, then the opportunities are 1) what are preventing customers today, and 2) for my customers engaging today, why are they doing it?"

Continuous Product Decisions

We don't want to make decisions based on one A/B test etc we want to make decisions based on sets.