Unlocking Sustained Success Through Continuous Product Discovery

Unlocking Sustained Success Through Continuous Product Discovery

Product discovery is a process that helps product teams refine their ideas by deeply understanding real user problems and then landing on the best way to solve them. Continuous product discovery emphasizes ongoing exploration, learning, and adaptation to meet the evolving needs of users and the market, even after your product launches. 

Continuous product discovery is important for organizations of all sizes. For startups, the process is essential for getting products off the ground and achieving product-market fit. Meanwhile, for industry giants like Google and Amazon, digital products are perpetual works in progress. Continuous product discovery techniques help them iterate and develop their offerings to stay ahead of competitors and the market.

Best Practices of Continuous Product Discovery

The practice of continuous discovery establishes a regular cadence of interaction between the product team and their customers. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Iterative Exploration: Rather than relying on a single upfront discovery phase, continuous product discovery involves ongoing exploration and validation of ideas throughout the development process. Teams continuously gather insights and refine concepts to inform product decisions. Product thought leader Teresa Torres defines the process as “at a minimum weekly touchpoints with customers by the team that’s building the product where they conduct small research activities in pursuit of a desired product outcome.” Other key activities include regular focus groups and assumption testing.
  • Customer-Centricity: Central to continuous product discovery is a strong focus on understanding user experience insights and behavior. Teams engage in activities such as user research, usability testing, and feedback analysis to gain insights into user pain points and desires. Purpose-built product management tools (like Productboard!) can help teams obtain a steady flow of insights regarding customer needs and how they’re experiencing your product.
  • Experimentation and Validation: Teams frequently conduct experiments and tests to validate hypotheses and ideas. This could involve building prototypes, releasing minimum viable products (MVPs), or running A/B tests to gather feedback and iterate on features.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Continuous product discovery embraces adaptability and flexibility in response to new insights, changing market conditions, or shifting user needs. Teams are open to pivoting or adjusting product direction based on feedback and data.

The Steps for Conducting Continuous Product Discovery 

Continuous product discovery has a simple underlying structure:

  • Start with broad outcomes
  • Identify challenges and discover opportunities
  • Determine and test solutions

It is similar to traditional product discovery, but rather than a one-and-done process, it is continuous and ongoing, as the name suggests.

problem solution double diamond diagram

The Double Diamond — a product discovery template leveraged by the Productboard product team.

Start with Broad Outcomes

The continuous discovery process starts with identifying outcomes the team is trying to achieve. Unlike outputs, which are more granular deliverables such as features, updates, or releases, outcomes focus on the overall benefits these outputs are expected to deliver to users, the business, or both. 

There are different types of outcomes for product teams to consider:

  • Business outcomes are closely tied to the success of the company. They are usually financial indicators or metrics tracking the progress of strategic goals. It falls upon product teams to translate these business outcomes into product outcomes. 
  • Product outcomes measure the effectiveness of a product in contributing towards business objectives, ensuring alignment between product performance and business success.

Defining clear outcomes from the get-go guides product development efforts so every granular product improvement advances the business.

Identify Challenges & Discover Opportunities

The product team’s next step involves pinpointing opportunities that can significantly enhance product performance and, by extension, drive business success. These opportunities often emerge from a deep understanding of customer needs and challenges, which the team can address through innovative solutions. 

In this stage, it’s vital to engage in ongoing user interviews and feedback collection, as capturing these insights early affords more time for impactful action. Other useful tools and techniques here include focus groups, observation, data analytics, competitive research, empathy mapping, and more. 

Determine and Test Solutions

This phase encompasses ideation, prototyping, and testing of potential solutions to discover the most innovative approaches to addressing user challenges. This is where product teams can get creative with innovation exercises like team brainstorming, mind mapping, storyboarding, and running design sprints. After ideas are proposed, teams can gauge their potential impact and feasibility and prioritize which to prototype and present to customers.

Achieving the optimal solution often requires several iterations, and presenting these solutions to stakeholders is key to securing their support and ensuring strategic alignment.

To dive into more details about the continuous discovery process, download our Product Discovery Playbook.

Conduct Better Continuous Discovery with Productboard

Productboard’s product management platform streamlines continuous product discovery by centralizing customer insights, leveraging AI-powered analysis to uncover user needs, and more: 

  • On the Insights board in Productboard, you have a centralized feedback repository for collecting feedback on an ongoing basis. Here, you can gather data from customer interviews, focus groups, and more efforts from the continuous discovery process. Productboard’s AI features help you distill high volumes of information into actionable product insights. 
  • For many, product discovery begins when you narrow down ideas worth pursuing and research them further to truly understand the user need you’re solving. Productboard helps you do this by surfacing the features most requested by users and the insights behind why.
  • As you zero in on ideas you want to discover further, Productboard helps by showing the user experience insights associated with every feature idea. Reviewing these insights can give you a lot of clues into underlying needs, especially because you can navigate from each insight back to the original source of the feedback — in the user’s own words.  

To learn more about how Productboard can help you conduct continuous discovery, start a 15-day free trial or request a demo.

 

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