November 9, 2020

How Product Discovery Helps Build Great Products

How Product Discovery Helps Build Great Products

Evgeni Kif
Author: Evgeni Kif, Head of Product Management Unit at Ciklum. 
Evgeni has over ten years of extensive experience building internet businesses from the ground up. He helped three startups to build their products, from concept to execution with a focus on the customer needs and market fit.

Every great product starts as a simple idea. From the airplane to the iPhone, tools and technologies powering today’s modern world share their origins as dreams that find their way into fleshed-out concepts intended to improve everyday life. 

Coming up with a groundbreaking idea can be hard enough, requiring anything from a simple “a-ha!” moment to thorough product research. But bringing a new product idea to life can be even harder; even the most careful thought, analysis, and planning don’t necessarily guarantee a product’s success.

Despite the best intentions of a project’s team, the reality of a project’s potential for success can quickly shift as soon as the full scope of work becomes apparent. Time is often increasingly spent on inefficient communication related to unclear requirements, squandering precious time. As costs quickly balloon and the project ultimately fails to materialise fully.

While no two products are the same, successful teams often overcome the same standard sets of challenges. First, an organisation must do the right things in developing the product, such as correctly identifying the problem, choosing the right strategy, and determining the right solution. And second, organisations must do things right, including defining the product’s vision accurately, designing the correct solution, and executing it to the best of their ability.  

What is the Product Discovery? 

The proper discovery itself is a service that supports the launching of new products and services or improving existing ones, through a lean and effective manner that provides business sustainability. This is a structured solution that provides an efficient and effective method of product discovery. 

Here’s an example of how it works at Ciklum. Product Discovery is structured in two key phases: the Discovery Workshop, which lasts three to five days and draws upon a wide range of Ciklum experts and client-side stakeholders, and the Viability Check Phase, which lasts up to 12 weeks and ultimately delivers the viability of a particular project. 

What is the Discovery Workshop?

The Discovery Workshop is a series of collaborative sessions that makes it possible to turn an idea, problem quickly, or need for a particular change into a framed challenge, solution vision, or action plan. For three to five days, depending on the complexity of the project, specialists from Ciklum, including a Product Manager, Business Analyst, Project Manager, User Experience Designer, Tech Specialist, and others on demand when necessary, work alongside client-side stakeholders such as decision-makers, user experts, industry experts, and marketing professionals.

Using preliminary research conducted before the Discovery Workshop, attendees will work together to determine the market outlook, conduct business discovery, carry out stakeholder interviews, suggest possible user segments and flows, frame challenges, and ideate solution hypotheses. Upon its conclusion, organisations will receive a full business model canvas including the market research, product vision, value proposition, persona profiles, customer journey map, user flows, solution assumptions, and list of hypotheses for a validation plan. 

What is the Viability Check Phase? 

The Viability Check Phase is an iterative process for prototyping a solution. Over the course of four to twelve weeks, depending on the project’s complexity, CIklum specialists and product stakeholders check the product’s desirability, viability, and feasibility by gathering and processing user feedback in order to further shape and define an idea. 

This phase includes a significant amount of user research, user interviews, prototyping, architecture design, proof of concept design and implementation, usability, user feedback analysis, and value proposition refinement. 

What is the Value of Product Discovery?

The Product Discovery process allows organisations to get a better understanding of their product’s potential. Rather than sinking resources into a project that ends up not being viable in the long run, the multi-step Product Discovery process thoroughly analyses the technologies, audiences, and business potential for each particular project. This helps companies make the best decision about moving forward with a product. 

First, product discovery delivers a solid understanding of a particular problem, combining strong user empathy with an elaborated business model. Next, the evaluation of various ideas and deep user insights contribute to a highly specific framed challenge. Validating solutions before development, correctly prioritising features, and timely pivoting each contributes to a refined value proposition. Finally, precise product requirements, minimum amounts of rework, proper team alignment, and reduced communication times deliver a fast feedback loop. 

Ultimately, data-driven decisions, a lean-Agile approach, and maximised productivity gained through Product Discovery helps deliver a faster time to market, higher customer satisfaction, and lower costs. By embarking on the Product Discovery process, organisations can build better products that are backed by robust data, research, and preparation from the start. 

Ciklum, a global digital solutions company for Fortune 500 and fast-growing companies, has been bringing innovative ideas to life since 2002. For more information about how the Product Discovery service can help chart the right course for a new or existing product idea, contact Ciklum today.