Did you ever hear the saying: „An intelligent plan is the first step to success“? While Basil C. Walsh was referring to the general idea of planning in business, the truth is – the only way to track our progress is to make a thought-out plan and try to figure out a way to reach our goals.
Even though it may seem like a costly process, you should think of a planning period as an investment in quality future cooperation. When you think about it, it will cost you much more if you skip this process or try to rush it instead of doing it correctly. Make sure your development team understands you – invest proper time and dedication to planning out your project. Don’t worry, even a most thought-out planning period doesn’t last forever – it should be done at the beginning of the cooperation and should be done in about a month.
A business idea is just a beginning
Coming up with an amazing business idea or taking over an existing project may seem like the end of a road, but it is actually just the beginning. Successfully delivering the product and launching it to the open market often requires a lot of dedicated work and many attempts through a trial and error system. However, that doesn’t mean this process will take years – with an agile approach; the results will come much sooner.
Although you may think that Product Discovery is only used for product development, that is not the case. It is also very useful in taking over an existing project from client or partner because it helps us understand all of the details of the project we are taking over.
For example – you start developing your product or service, thinking the moment it hits the market, it's going to become an instant hit – but after months of hard work, you realize you have more unanswered questions than you had in the beginning... The fact of the matter is: product development sounds simple until you actually start doing it – then all complexities rise to the surface. So, what you need is a beneficial tool called Product Discovery Workshop. So, what is it exactly?
What is „product discovery“ anyway?
No matter if it's a vast project, a business idea, a new product or service or a digital solution – in Devōt, we firmly believe that in order to start your project right, you need to have thought-out answers to some key questions, as well as mutual understanding between you and your development team. And the best tool to gain both is a well-planned Product Discovery Workshop.
Don't think of it as a one-time thing, but more of a process . It should definitely be done at the beginning of your cooperation, but as your project advances, Product Discovery workshops should be repeated as needed. Again, the Agile approach is what makes this possible – the product changes in collaboration with the client, and every stage is a new opportunity for improvement.
The most important thing about the Product Discovery Workshop is understanding its purpose – it is not just about finding the right solution. Its primary goal is to facilitate mutual understanding between the client and the development team and determine the exact project scope. Therefore, if you want to start off „on the right foot“, conducting the discovery workshop is crucial because it will help you outline all potential challenges right from the start – which can save you from wasting a lot of time developing the wrong product.
This concept goes „hand in hand“ with the Agile business philosophy we believe in, as it nurtures values such as adaptability and willingness to learn from errors.
Does your development team understand you?
It all starts with the initial interaction – from the very first moment in your planning phase, there has to be a high level of understanding and shared vision for problem-solving and product development.
Conducting a properly planned Product Discovery Workshop makes sure the project team is aligned with the client's vision. In addition, it allows the opportunity to continuously explore the project scope and route the process in the right direction.
What questions should your development team ask you?
And now – let's finally dive in: these are the Key Questions Product Discovery Workshop should answer to successfully transform ideas and objectives into a focused product vision.
Here at Devōt, we start our Workshops with thorough research and problem identification, as well as objectives and priorities clarification so we can shape the project around the common vision of the proposed solutions.
What do we ask our clients?
First things first , we need to know about all the nooks and crannies of the project. For example, who is the primary decision-maker, what are the Key performance indicators (KPIs), what is the scope of the project, what is required for MVP (Minimal viable product), is there an overall strategy, what is the business model, are there any technological or commercial constraints, what are the existing brand guidelines and style guidelines? Don’t worry, we won’t catch you off-guard with all of these questions – we will send the agenda and potential questions in advance so all parties can prepare before the workshop.
Also, we ask for any existing documentation (user personas, user feeds, etc.), as well as thoughts on business opportunities, such as lead acquisition, sales, referrals or showcase information.
So, make sure your Product Discovery Workshop starts with questions about the product:
- What is the purpose of the product?
- Do you have a way of differentiating yourself on the market?
- Where do you see your product in the next five years?
When it comes to users/future users, you should be asking the following questions:
- Who are the users (or potential users) of the product, what are their personas? It would help if you imagined them with as many details as possible – so they could represent individuals that will be using your product. By doing that, we can identify whether the product will provide real value for users.
- What is important to them, and why should they care about our product?
- What are your user's weak points?
- What drives you towards your users?
- Do you make any assumptions about the users, and what would those be?
- What factual information do you have about the users (or potential users)?
- What kind of problems are your users usually having?
The Product Discovery Workshop should consider every aspect of the market, so you should always ask some crucial questions about competition, such as who your main competitors are, what your competitive advantage is over them, and your biggest concerns about the market and the competition?
The expected outputs of Product Discovery Workshop – what do you get out if it?
After conducting the Project Discovery Workshop, you should have a clear vision of what your product should be, the direction you’re heading, and what is your ground for product development. The Workshop may find that the product is not useful or feasible – which allows you to change the course of your investment or make any necessary changes in the development process.
The outputs you should expect from Product Discovery Workshop are: Definition of your business goal, the definition of your Minimal Viable Product, a development plan for your product, identification of end-users and user personas (a precise description of your target users and their perspective), the definition of stakeholders expectations, a financial estimate for the development (initial evaluation of your product’s implementation costs) and estimated project timeline.
Who is involved in the Product Discovery?
The Product Discovery team should consist of both sides – the development side and the client's side. When it comes to Devōt, we will assemble a team that fits to your project’s current and future needs – it will consist of the following roles:
- Project Strategist
- Business Analyst
- Product Designer
- Solution architect
- Software Developer
- Product Manager
When it comes to the client’s side, we suggest assembling a corresponding team representing their business, users, marketing and technology perspectives. Need help with shaping your product or finding a way to make it market-ready? Contact us – let’s start a project together!