Establishing a product discovery framework from scratch takes cross-team effort, so it’s important to get the right people on board from the start.
I always make a point of highlighting the different parts of the organization that can directly benefit from the results of product discovery – I can’t recommend this enough, as it helps to make sure everyone feels engaged and incentivized to support you.
Here’s just some of the benefits that are worth highlighting.
Informing the product roadmap
What you learn about customer needs and what they care about helps to prioritize possible products, features, and segments based on what matters for them. For companies that pride themselves on putting the customer first, this should resonate clearly.
So anyone with responsibility for the product roadmap should stand to benefit hugely. This is usually product management but is equally valuable to design, commercial, and marketing.
At an early-stage company, prioritization is commonly the result of multiple teams’ opinions – sometimes those with the loudest opinions – so it helps to inform everybody with the same validated research. It becomes a shared North star to point to.
Encouraging empathy with customers
By getting to know customers better and sharing insights internally, you can help make sure most decisions are aligned with your customer’s needs and reduce arguments stemming from information silos.
To do this, you need to build a structured and scalable knowledge base. This ensures that learnings from discovery are accessible, organized and validated.
This structure isn’t only about sharing the learnings, but sharing the process; how it is conducted, analyzed, and validated. This builds trust amongst stakeholders who want to rely on the insights from discovery.
Establishing specific ideas and design principles
Discovery doesn’t just help inform what should be prioritized, it can directly guide you in terms of how to build something in the best way for the intended target audience.
This is particularly useful in the example of when a company has decided, for whatever reason, that feature X must be built ASAP, and the team must figure out how to build it – I swear, this never happens…!
Design principles directly benefit anybody responsible for designing and communicating what your customers see and hear. These principles act as a set of guidelines to ensure what is being built is ticking all of the right boxes.
Strengthening core messaging
If you understand what people care about you can talk about your service in the right way. This directly benefits marketing, PR, and whoever writes content for your company.
Host an informational session
When aligning the different stakeholders to begin creating this framework, I always find it helpful to do a brief introduction about what product discovery is, the different methodologies that can be applied, and how it can be implemented.
This is useful when some people in your audience haven’t had this type of experience in their previous organizations. Host a separate session for people that will be participating in product discovery to go into more detail about different methodologies and what approach your team will be taking.
For comprehensive insights about different types of research methodologies and their applications, a reliable place to start is the Nielson Norman Group. This article posted by Christian Rohrer, “When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods”, as a place to start your quest for learning about the different types of methods and how to use them. Or, you can skip straight to the lean 8-week process I’ve found to really work well once I’ve posted it.
Otherwise, let’s move on to building the infrastructure.
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch.