What is Product Discovery?
How do you know a washing machine actually solves a problem for a target audience? Or that people are willing to wait for their clothes to be clean again? Or that people will accept the incessant thumping? At some point in the creation of the product, everything had to be validated. Let’s take a closer look at product discovery in software development.
Product discovery is an iterative process that validates hypotheses and achieves a fast market/product fit. It helps measure a product's capabilities to solve the problem it aims to solve. Product discovery helps save time and money and reduces risk.
There are many elements to consider when validating a product idea. But don’t worry! You will learn everything you need to know about product discovery in this article. Will you miss out on it?
What is the product discovery process?
Having success with your digital product can be a complicated quest. Many products in the app stores go unnoticed and don’t get half the reach their creators expected. And most of them have the same death cause: not solving a problem effectively.
The product discovery process aims at validating hypotheses to create a product that a specific target audience needs. It ensures that the product solves the problem the target audience has.
It is an iterative process because validating hypotheses is not as straightforward as you would like. You need to learn from your solution and from your audience in order to tailor something for them.
The goal is to gain a clear understanding of your customer’s needs and develop an accurate solution to meet those needs. The central focus of product discovery is to identify the core problem and find out how to add value.
Product discovery is crucial for reducing risk and ensuring that your product provides value to the users. Plus, it can also help pave the way for successful implementation and delivery. The development team will have a clear understanding of the requirements and every feature that will be implemented.
Benefits of product discovery
Product Discovery can be beneficial for your project in many a way. It will allow you to:
- Validate your business idea early on
- Achieve product/market fit quickly and effectively
- Achieve a faster time-to-market with your MVP
- Test your product with real users before committing to the development
Validate your business idea early on
Having an idea for an app and translating it into a business project are two different things. The product discovery process can help you define the bases of the project. Plus, you will discover if the world really wants what you have to offer.
Achieve product/market fit quickly and effectively
In order to have success, you need your product to reasonate with a certain group of people. Product discovery can help you find the perfect fit and target the product efficiently. Achieving product/market fit is paramount to having a product that people really want and use.
Achieve a faster time-to-market with your MVP
The faster you can get your MVP out there, the better. Unfortunately, in many projects, that means doing things carelessly for the sake of speed. The product discovery process can help you achieve a faster release of your MVP without harming the product in the long run.
Test your product with real users before committing to the development
You don’t need to spend over $50,000 to have the first version of your product. It would be painful to put in the money and time only to discover that the target audience does not respond well to your product.
With the product discovery, you can test your product with real users and make improvements on the idea before committing to development.
Steps of the product discovery process
There are several approaches to product discovery. Yet, these are the steps you should follow in order to maximize the benefits of the process:
- Initial assessment
- Sucess metric
- Feature focus
- Proof of concept and UX design
- Testable Z
- Product Validation
The product discovery process can start at any stage of the lifecycle of a product. Thus, an initial assessment to align goals and manage expectations is key to defining the way forward.
The initial assessment should consider both the short-term MVP and the long-term business vision in order to plan for the future and not just for a quick fix. You will also assess possible technical limitations and the project scope.
During this step, you define the main pain points the product needs to solve to fulfill its core purpose. Having a clear definition of success and how to measure it can help prioritize features and optimize the efficiency of the project.
Although an app has many elements, features, and screes, there is one feature that will have the most impact on the user experience. This step focuses on identifying that feature through usability testing.
The different features are prioritized to reduce risks, deliver high value, and achieve the fastest possible release to market. The success metric helps guide your criteria.
Proof of concept and UX design
This step is all about creating the product’s architecture. The design team focuses on creating lo-fi wireframes of the most important screens of the product. The idea is to have a compact solution without overcomplicating it.
This step allows you to explore the best possible ways to shape the UX and offer a valuable experience to the user.
Developing an app can take some time, but that doesn’t mean you need to wait until the end to test it! Once the wireframes are ready, the next step is to translate them into polished UI mockups.
Here, you should already have a high-definition prototype capable of triggering authentic and emotional responses from users. You can put the app in front of a real audience and start testing the market fit.
Your functioning prototype is ready, and now is time for you to validate it with real users! This stage will allow you to test the reaction of your target audience and make informed decisions to ensure product success.
You might be tempted to jump straight to development and take the fast lane. Yet, the real fast track could be slowing down and going through a product discovery process before development.
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.