• Sarah

Is your team creating the right thing?

Updated: Nov 15, 2019

In our work we often see Product Managers and teams so focused on delivering features that they lose sight of the overarching problem they’re trying to solve. This leaves them endlessly building features but unsure if these features are actually having an impact or not. As a double whammy, senior management start doubting the team’s ability to deliver valuable product releases that meet the organisation’s goals and that customers positively respond to.

By including more product discovery into your product management process, your team and stakeholders will be able to deliver confident releases because they will have valuable intel that can be directed at solving real user problems.

Rapid delivery through rapid learning

Product discovery is the process you go through to prove or disprove which problems, or opportunities as we like to call them, should be solved before investing money and time in building them. Where as product delivery is the process of building and optimising a solution.

If the goal for delivery is to build fast, then the goal for discovery is the learn fast. You need to learn what works and what doesn’t BEFORE your team builds it.

Working this way creates a smarter product

The focus shifts to solving real user problems (not imagined ones)

Understanding what’s important to users will help identify opportunities to focus on. When the team has a deep understanding of the user’s real problems, they will provide regular insights into users behaviours, needs and interests.

Incremental understanding and alignment

Create alignment with your team by having a common goal and focusing on solving real user problems. When everyone is aligned to a desired outcome, they are able to continually tie back any decisions and thinking back to this common goal, meaning everyone is working to achieve this same outcome for the business.

Risk is reduced and money is saved

Spend less time building the wrong thing by running regular experiments and testing hypotheses before investing months of time and money on building unvalidated problems. Teams should be encouraged to fail early, so they quickly learn what’s working and what’s not. This will reduce the business risk of larger scale failures and once the product is built and released.

Decision-making becomes evidence based

By doing continuous discovery the team will generate evidence that demonstrates which problems to focus on and how these problems can be solved. This evidence then guides the team towards making good decisions and allows them to hone their efforts. It also generates valuable insights to share with management and stakeholders so they too can understand the reasoning and thinking behind the decisions made by the team.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Want to know more?

  • Melissa Perri is a speaker and author of The Build Trap. This book is one of our favourites to read this year. It’s succinct, easy to understand and focus' on what good looks.

  • I first saw Teresa Torres speak at the Mind The Product Conference in London where she introduced the Opportunity Solution Tree which is a visual aid to help teams with critical thinking as they move through the discovery process.

  • Jeff Patton, is delightful and super clever, his Product Owner 2 day course is not to be missed. It’s inspiring, unique and heaps of fun for aspiring Product people.


Next: How to build smarter products that customers like

Is your team struggling to deliver value?

At Product Space we love supporting organisations with digital products or services by working with them to improve and accelerate their product development process. We also work with product leaders, executives, product managers and teams to build product management skills and capability and establish best practice product process. If you are experiencing some sort of pain with your product development process, let's start a conversation hello@theproductspace.com

This article and associated images are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 by Product Space.


© 2020 Product Space Pty Ltd ABN: 30 843 863 290