Product discovery is the foundation of successful product development. Validated learning compounds over time, leading to better decisions, increased confidence, and a better understanding of your users. However, getting started with product discovery can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to the process.
Recently, I had a conversation with a product leader who made an interesting observation: the "barrier to entry" for discovery is still too high. He wasn't talking about technical barriers, but rather psychological ones. Many teams are so relieved to finally have the opportunity to talk to users that they burn out quickly. They try to talk to everyone, from developers to business stakeholders and end up dropping the habit of talking to users after just a few weeks because it is unsustainable.
Starting small is key to sustainable discovery practices.
However, in an organizational setting, where the PM or UX designer needs to fight for the time, tools, and resources to talk to users, this can be challenging. It is essential to win the battle against organizational friction and create sustainable practices.
The goal is not to start "right" but to start "consistently." Just like physical exercise, setting a goal that is so low that you have to laugh when you see it, like writing one email inviting a user to an interview, can be the key to building sustainable habits.
Over time, the goal should be to compound your learning. One user interview per week may not seem like much, but over six months, that's 24 interviews. That's a lot of learning! And with each interview, you will gain more confidence, ask better questions, and develop a better understanding of your users. You will be surprised where you find yourself when you make product discovery a sustainable habit.
The benefits of sustainable product discovery are immense.
By talking to users consistently, you will gain a deeper understanding of their needs and pain points. This knowledge will allow you to make better decisions, create better products, and ultimately build a stronger business.
Additionally, sustainable product discovery practices help to create a culture of learning within your organization, where everyone is encouraged to ask questions, experiment, and learn from their mistakes.
In conclusion, product discovery is critical to the success of any product development effort. By making discovery practices sustainable, you can compound your learning over time and gain a deeper understanding of your users.
Starting small and building sustainable habits is the key to success. With consistent effort, you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish and how much you can learn.
So start today, and go compound!
Want even more tactical tips? I've collected templates over the years, that help me daily. They help me onboard faster with teams, brainstorm more collaboratively and communicate outcomes in a crisper way.