What is product discovery? An ultimate guide

laptop with the text what is product discovery

You have a product idea. Great!

What’s next?

Here are 2 choices: 

  • You first launch the idea, then test it
  • You first test the idea, then launch it

The second option sounds obviously better. Unfortunately, businesses often do vice versa, since the product idea may sound very exciting and winning. “No need to wait, launch first!”

However, nothing can ensure 100% success. There are always chances that the product won’t be accepted by the market, meaning that you’ve wasted money and time. 

Here, product discovery comes to save the day. It can significantly boost your chances of producing a successful product. 

Let’s take a detailed look at the product discovery definition, its importance, outcomes, and stages 👇


What is a Product Discovery?

Product discovery is a stage of product development, which helps understand users’ pain points and validate the most productive way of development.

It includes deep research from tech experts before your actual coding kicks in and defining clear steps on how to proceed. 

It’s kind of like being a detective. You’re looking for clues about what people want and need, and how you can create something that will meet those needs.

Product discovery is a perfect choice for those who want to validate that the product idea is worth spending resources on and investing in further development.

Consider it as a transformation of your idea into a real product!

That’s how you can:

  • Check the product-market fit and find out if your idea solves your target audience‘s problems
  • Ensure you’re not wasting your time on assumptions, and it’s actually possible to bring your idea to life 
  • Clearly understand what and who you need to build the product
  • Define future steps and get the process started in the most productive way

The Importance of Product Discovery Process

The answer is simple: it lets you validate your product’s idea and define all the risks before the product development, not after. Also, you define a clear action plan on how to move on.

However, its importance isn’t limited to just developing a viable product. Here are more reasons why you should not underrate the discovery phase’s importance 👇

It helps you build a product that people really need

Let’s be honest: the scariest thing that can ever happen to a business owner is creating a great product that no one needs. 

Product discovery is a perfect way to validate the idea and identify whether your solution can really solve the problem of your target customers.

That's how you avoid unexpected costs

Developing a product without idea validation and risk review might turn into chasing an unachievable goal. And, consequently, losing money. 

Product discovery helps to reduce this risk by providing early validation and preventing costly rework.

It ensures faster time to market

A clear development direction allows the team to work more efficiently and leads to faster product delivery 🎉

Product discovery helps prioritize developing essential features and avoid unnecessary ones you’d initially planned but which appeared useless.

Boom – and the product development process significantly sped up!

When Do You Need It?

when to consider the product discovery

Consider a product discovery service, if you:

  • Want to develop a new product. As we mentioned earlier, it is crucial to determine how successfully your product addresses the current product market needs and whether it can solve real users’ problems.
  • Don’t know how to start. What are the future steps? How do you have to prioritize them? Answers to all of these questions are in the product discovery process. Everything you need to make your tech way much more clear!
  • Want to make sure you’re on the right path. Product discovery can help you check and identify what needs to be changed. It’s important to have confidence that you’re moving in the right direction before you start investing resources and making any innovations.
  • Need to start the dev process with the best options. Defining the tech stack, team composition, and high-level architecture – that all may sound hard and complex. Good news: tech experts can guide you through it all and help with all tech questions.
  • Plan to upgrade your existing product. To avoid making shots in the dark, it’s wise to determine what features you need, and which don’t. As simple as that!

Steps of a Product Discovery Process

Now you know what is a product discovery process, and how it can help with product management and launch. 

However, the most interesting is yet to come. Let’s dive into the stages of the product discovery process, and discuss the particular steps:

1. Let’s meet with the product discovery team

Here you meet your hero team! The product discovery team typically includes product designers, solution architects, project managers, and business analysts.

2. What’s the problem?

Your product idea may sound really great, but does it really solve user’s problems? It’s time to check it. 

Usually, during this step, the team identifies the problem of the potential user that needs to be solved, and the value that it brings to users.

3. It’s research time!

Both user and market research are taking place on this step. Put aside the assumptions, and get to know the users via the research outcomes or customer interviews. 

Overall: it’s the process of customer segmentation, defining user personas and empathy maps, and collecting customer feedback (if any).

For this, discovery teams leverage tried-and-true techniques such as user interviews, user stories, and more.

4. Let’s collect all the ideas

Alright, now that we’ve figured out what problem we’re trying to solve and who we’re trying to solve it for. It’s time to make our ideas go live! 

During these stages, the team combines all the info collected and prioritizes the ideas. Here, the ideas must align with the business goals and consumer needs.

5. Prototyping & testing

Let’s get down to business and start making some prototypes! 

The goal here is to figure out if there are any inconsistencies between what users think they want/need and what they actually experience with the product. 

Wireframes, mockups, clickable prototypes and high-level architecture help get a better sense of how everything fits together.

… and planning continuous discovery

Remember that product discovery doesn’t end once you start product development. Moreover, it should continue even when your product hits the market.

Continuous discovery is vital to ensure that your product satisfies your users’ needs and upgrade it when it fails to do so.

How We Do It?

We discussed the usual product discovery steps. Now, keep in mind that every company is different, so product discovery deliverables can vary.

What we know for sure is what our processes are, and which deliverables we produce. Here they are:

High-level tech suggestions

At this phase, tech experts examine your product and provide recommendations about product performance that can take it to the next level.

Tech expert consultation

It’s the process of expert guidance and advice to ensure the technical aspects of the project are properly executed. You can check it here in more detail!

Risks and limitations review

Here it’s important to figure out what can possibly go wrong with your software or app, and how to prevent it from happening. Identify possible usability risks, check potential threats, and prioritize the most critical risks.

UI/UX review

Let’s make sure your product looks good, works well, and is a joy to interact with.

First up, you’ve got a UI review. This means looking at the visual design of your product and making sure it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. 

During the UX review, we check if the product is intuitive and easy to use.

Code & Antipatterns review

This is all about confirming the code behind your product is well-written, efficient, and easy to maintain. You need to have a solid foundation for your software or app to build on!

Also, it’s important to describe the common coding mistakes or bad practices that could cause problems down the line. Let’s be certain you don’t have any technical debt that will come back to haunt you later on.

Infrastructure & CI/CD check

Here we make sure the systems and tools you’re using to build and deploy the software or app are up to snuff. This means looking at the servers, databases, and other tools for running the software or app.

Tech Quality Standard Audit

In other words – it’s a deep assessment of your software development process and development approach. It’s time to spot any red flags in development before they actually become a thing.

Tech stack & requirements definition

What tools and technologies will be good to use to build the software or app? That’s what is defined during this step. By making smart and modern choices early on, we can set ourselves up for success down the line and avoid feasibility risks.

The main goal is to create a clear roadmap for building the software or app. By defining the requirements up front, we can avoid surprises and make sure that everyone on the development team is on the same page.

Team composition proposal

Here we figure out what is your perfect-match team for further development. By choosing the right people for the right roles according to the scope of work, we can set ourselves up for the successful business outcome.

High-level architecture creation

We structure the product development and see how its different components interact with each other. The most essential is to make sure that our architecture is scalable, maintainable, and flexible enough to accommodate future changes.

Business analysis report

It’s kind of like a report card for a business, but instead of grades, it provides insights and recommendations. By providing a clear picture of where the product stands and where it could go, the report can help with decision-making and validating future ideas.

User experience research

Consider it a great journey to explore the needs and preferences of your potential customers to make products that they’ll love. Here we identify target users and check their perception regarding a product.

Design concept

Think of it as the foundation upon which the design is built. Or, in other words, it transcribes your product idea into the market. After the design sprint, you can capture the essence you’re trying to build.

Milestones definition & project estimate

The process of breaking down a project into smaller, more manageable chunks helps track progress and ensure that everything stays on schedule. It’s one of the most important processes to start the dev process most efficiently.

Also, here you receive a rough estimate of what you need to transform your feature idea into a product.

Wrap Up

Wow, now you know a lot about the so-called zero sprint. Or, in other words, what is the product discovery process? 

It’s a crucial step in creating a successful product that meets the needs of your target users. Product discovery helps product owners understand the users’ pain points and create a strategy to address them effectively. 

Meaning: correct product decision, saved costs and improved development efficiency. Win-win!

If you have a fantastic idea that needs validation or questions concerning the discovery processget in touch with us. We’re dedicated to helping you create a product that delivers real value and drives market success.

Q&A: Product discovery

We know you’re here to find answers. We’ve got you covered.

It’s like the beginning of a great adventure, where you’re not quite sure where the path will take you, but you’re excited to find out.

The product discovery phase is an early stage of product development that focuses on understanding users’ problems & defining tech needs.

Consider it as a validation of a product idea before the actual development.

Usually, these people are included in the product discovery process:

  • Business analyst
  • Solution architect
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Product manager

Audit, research, prototype. Those are the main outcomes that you have to receive after the product discovery phase.

To be more precise, it includes:

  • High-level tech suggestions
  • Tech expert consultation
  • Risks and limitations review
  • UI/UX, code & antipatterns review
  • Infrastructure & CI/CD check
  • Tech Quality Standard Audit
  • Tech stack & requirements definition
  • Team composition proposal
  • High-level architecture creation
  • Business analysis report
  • User experience research & design concept
  • Milestones definition, ballpark project estimate

The cost of discovery phase services can vary depending on a few different factors.

First and foremost, the scope of your software project will play a big role. The more complex your project is, the more time and resources it requires to analyze and research it.

For example, our price for the product discovery starts from $5k, and it takes from 3 weeks.

It’s highly recommended to consider product discovery, if you:

  • develop a new product;
  • don’t know where to start;
  • want to make sure you’re on the right track;
  • need to define the tech needs;
  • want to upgrade your existing product.

Product discovery helps product teams ensure that they understand their users’ pain points and needs and use this knowledge when developing a mobile app.

Design thinking is a product discovery framework. In other words, it’s a way of figuring out what people want and need when it comes to a product. 

It’s all about putting the customer first and looking at three things: 

  • whether people want it (desirability);
  • whether it’s possible to make (feasibility);
  • whether it makes sense financially (viability).
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