Discovery isn't always a linear process. It's messy.

Creating a product that meets users’ demand is the key to the success of any business. It’s simple - if your users don’t like your product, your business fails. And the further you are in the product creation process, the harder it is to admit that you are creating the wrong product.

One way to understand your users in-depth is to set up a product discovery process, which is one of the toughest tasks in product management. During the process, the uncertainty surrounding a product idea or a development issue is reduced so that the right product can be created for the right audience.  

Ideally, product discovery is a linear and straightforward process, beginning with a research phase in which qualitative and quantitative data are gathered from users using methods like reviews and surveys. Once the data is collected, product managers come up with creative solutions and produce a product, which is then passed on to users.

What makes the product discovery process messy?

If things were that simple, companies would all have the dream product that every user loves. But it is more complicated than that. Although product discovery appears to be linear and straightforward, in reality, it is not. It is quite often a messy affair and here is why:  

Reliance on marketing for product discovery ideas. 

Quite often, product discovery ideas come from the marketing team. They are the people who understand the market well, and naturally, they should be leading the product discovery process. 

The thing is, user experience (UX) is such an interdisciplinary area. The role played by marketing should not mean the role of other teams such as product and finance are not important. Rather, the product management’s approach to product discovery should be one that involves UX designers, developers, engineers, and of course, the product manager.

Not having an open mindset. 

Most good creations come from trial and error. In most cases, the initial idea may not be the best one and it may even be substantially different from the final product. While working on the discovery process, the product manager needs to adopt a UX design mindset which encourages positive thinking, a mindset that is not afraid of mistakes and failures, one that is willing to improve and refine ideas.  

Closing the discovery cycle too soon

Discovery is a cycle and it does not end with the creation of a product. Once the product is created, you continue to research and analyse to understand how well it is meeting the users’ expectations. It’s an ongoing process with continuous improvements - as soon as you have a refined product, the discovery process starts over again. So, keeping the discovery cycle open is the key to maintaining innovative energy within the product team.

Although not always a linear process, product discovery can be more easily manageable by using the right tools.

That's where Epiphany comes in. We help product managers throughout the discovery cycle from gathering and analysing user research data to prioritising the product roadmap.

Join our beta to try first-hand how our features will help find the insights you need.

To learn more about the complexity of the discovery process be sure to check out how to find insights like Steve Jobs?

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