Product Management

8 Key Product Discovery Techniques to Empower Product Teams

Content Writer

Athira V S

July 20, 2023

8 mins read

8 Key Product Discovery Techniques to Empower Product Teams

As product managers strive to improve product management, don't overlook a crucial process – using the right product discovery techniques. 

These techniques enable you to create standardized and consistent processes to achieve product success. According to research, over 50% of product managers state that maintaining consistent product management processes is a significant challenge. This is where product discovery techniques come in. 

In this article, we'll explain the best product discovery techniques to help improve your product development process. 

What are product discovery techniques?

Image source: Freepik

Product techniques are iterative processes that help improve your product discovery process. They aim to provide a defined structural approach to uncover customer needs, identify problems, validate an idea, test potential solutions and eliminate risks. 

While product teams work on different projects and, as a result, apply different discovery frameworks using many discovery tools, applying the proper techniques is crucial for successful product development. 

In the next section, we'll explain the best product discovery techniques you can apply. 

8 key product discovery techniques

Product discovery techniques allow you and your product team to establish a process to gather ideas, validate and test them, and ensure they align with customer needs. Here are eight essential product discovery techniques to help get started.

1. Customer interviews and focus groups

Starting with your customers and working backward toward the product has always been the key to building a valuable product. This is possible through customer interviews and focus groups.

However, talking to customers can be challenging, especially when you don't know the right questions to ask.

Here are some ways to improve the quality of your customer interviews:

  • Ask the right questions – Phrase questions to force users to describe their experiences, including pain points. For example, including phrases like "Tell me about how you solved problem X with feature Y" or "When was the last time you used feature X?" can help understand user experience. The goal is to dig deeper into each point and uncover more about their experiences.
  • Document and organize insights – One best way to organize customer insights is through an opportunity solution tree.
  • Automate customer interviews – This makes it easy for customers to come to you by providing a means for them to book an interview date on your calendar. Embedding a calendar link in your interview invitation should do the trick.
  • Keep the interviews continuous – Instead of prolonged one-time interviews, think of the interview process as batches to conduct at regular intervals. This prevents both you and the customer from getting overwhelmed and helps you maximize every interview stage.

Our product discovery tool, Zeda.io, enables you to manage data from your customer interviews and focus groups through its robust feedback management system.

Image source: Zeda.io

For instance, it allows you to collect customer feedback from multiple channels like Slack, Intercom, Zendesk, and more. It also provides a single and organized view of all feedback so you can easily view, categorize and discover product opportunities.

2. Product and user analytics

Product and user analytics set the tone for improving your product strategy. The data from user analytics will help you understand how customers use your product.

It helps you answer questions like:

  • Which features do customers use the least? 
  • What actions do they perform the most? 
  • How many users come back to use the product repeatedly? 
  • Are users happy with our product features?

To answer these questions and more, you need to focus on critical product management metrics (retention, engagement metrics etc.) and analytics events that reveal user behavior and engagement.

From there, you can transform the data into valuable insights to guide product development.

Many solutions can help you achieve this. You can start with our AI-powered insights dashboard.

Image source: Zeda.io

This feature provides a comprehensive view of your customer’s needs, enabling you to place customer value at every stage of your business model.

It also:

  • Analyzes customer data and creates a detailed report on how it impacts your product discovery process
  • Helps you analyze segment cohorts and customer attributes and then transform the insights into actions
  • Enables you to capture high-priority initiatives and focus on what to build during the discovery process

3. Competitor analysis

Even if you get user feedback and use analytics data to improve product development, chances are your competitors are already doing the same and more. How do you make your solution stand out? This is where competitor analysis comes in.

It is a crucial aspect of your product discovery process that will help you evaluate the market and identify gaps in available solutions.

Additionally, competitor analysis helps you better understand user needs your product may not be meeting. Are there some features that users demand? What are other users saying about your competitors' solutions? Digging into these questions will help you uncover gaps your solution can fill up.

Remember, your competitors also apply product discovery techniques to enhance their features, so you need to go the extra mile and analyze their solutions. Create a spreadsheet of their strengths, weaknesses and features, then identify ways to stand out.

4. User journey mapping

You’ll gain a lot of feedback as you conduct customer interviews or run surveys, but how you manage customer feedback is what will make a major difference in your initial product discovery.

This is where user journey mapping comes in. It helps you take the perspective of your users and translate them in visual and chronological order, including everything about the user, from pain points, thoughts, emotions and actions throughout their journey.

We've highlighted the steps to create a user journey map:

  • Define the scope of the journey mapping, including your goal and how you intend to identify gaps, remove frictions and improve usability
  • Create a user persona highlighting their industry, pain points, goals, aspirations
  • Develop your user journey by gathering user actions at every touchpoint, then organize them
  • Develop customer stories to capture real-time feedback

Zeda.io provides an AI-powered feedback management module to help with your user journey mapping. It allows you to identify and connect similar customer feedback to interpret the feedback patterns accurately.

This AI feature also generates tags so you can easily categorize different kinds of feedback.

5. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a tried and tested product discovery method that enables everyone on your product team to tap into their creative reserve. During brainstorming meetings, it can be tempting to begin without an agenda or clear plan; however, you may end up with nothing but an unstructured roadmap or scattered scribbled notes.

To get your brainstorming sessions right, you need structured, visual frameworks that will direct the flow of the sessions and uncover unique insights.

To put this into context, we’ll show you ways you can use Zeda.io to get the best out of your brainstorming sessions.

Zeda.io helps you transform your brainstorming ideas to develop effective product strategies and measure outcomes through its strategy plan tool.

With this feature, you can:

  • Capture unique insights during brainstorming
  • Create a comprehensive view of your journey and identify any potential roadblock
  • Update your plans as you prioritize and uncover more opportunities
  • Keep all stakeholders focused on the key objective through live roadmaps

6. Prioritization

Amidst many ideas, feature requests and customer feedback, knowing the most important ones to focus on can be challenging. Some features may not be feasible to implement or you could have monetary restrictions, so it is essential to prioritize what to focus on in your product discovery roadmap.

This is where you apply prioritization frameworks -- they are strategic guidelines to help you judge the value of potential solutions in your product development.

While there are different prioritization frameworks to choose from, your goal is to start with a quick and simple technique that reinforces your minimum viable product. Here are some of them:

  • RICE framework – offers a scoring system for each product based on reach, impact, confidence and effort
  • Value vs. effort – helps you create a graph of the predicted value of a product or feature vs. the effort required to build it. This will help you clearly understand of the importance of a specific product and the risk behind creating it
  • Story mapping – helps you arrange user stories in visual charts to create a bird's eye view of how they apply in the user experience

During prioritization, you can use our user feedback module to gain a holistic view of user feedback and quickly gauge high-value feature requests and customer feedback. You can also use our pre-built prompts to deeply examine customer feedback and develop solution-based ideas.

Image source: Zeda.io

To explore this feature, you can sign up for a 15-day free trial.

7. Prototyping

Prototyping enables your product team to bring their product ideas to life. The prototypes your development team will create depend on the ideas they want to test and the open questions they have. Here, they need to analyze each idea, answering questions like:

  • Can the idea solve the problem at hand? 
  • Is it feasible? 
  • Do we have the necessary tools and resources to build it?

Sometimes straightforward paper prototypes or sketches are enough. In other cases, you may need prototyping tools to create clickable prototypes or minimum-viable products.

When building a prototype, Zeda.io can help you make an effective product roadmap and collaboration center for your development team to communicate strategic plans and timelines.

You can also use this roadmap feature to track real-time progress and receive instant notifications on project changes.

Even more, you can define and track key milestones to ensure your project is on the right track.

8. Viability testing

Even though you've created your product discovery prototypes, it doesn't end there. You need to conduct viability testing for your prototypes, which helps you determine if your viable product meets the needs of your business revenue, brand, customers and employees.

Here are some ways you can get started:

  1. Align your product discovery methods with your product marketing team to understand their perspective before development
  2. Ensure your finance team understands the cost to build and sell your product so everyone can conclude on a feasible budget
  3. To create a viable product, you must interact with customers and apply their feedback through every stage of your product development

Conclusion

Starting your product discovery without proper techniques can lead to a chaotic development process, but you can avoid this by employing product discovery frameworks in your product management.

The eight product discovery techniques explained above allow for a thorough and structured approach to product development. This way, you can uncover hidden customer problems, validate ideas and create a roadmap to visualize the entire process.

Remember, continuous product discovery is necessary to gain the best insights and manage your product backlog. Using a product discovery tool can help you efficiently conduct product discovery.

Zeda.io provides AI-powered product discovery tools that help product teams to make data-driven decisions by analyzing customer needs and user behavior and identifying trends in the market. You can sign up for a 15-day free trial to explore our tools.

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FAQs

Which product discovery technique is the best way to validate?

When it comes to idea validation, there are different validation options you can use, such as: Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Prototyping, Riskiest assumptions test, Proof of concepts 

How do you run a discovery process?

There are five stages in the discovery process, they include:Ideation, Research, Prototype building, Development, Launch and Marketing

What is a discovery strategy?

A discovery strategy helps product managers and teams decide on high-value features or products to build. It starts by identifying problems and understanding the customer needs so you can refine product ideas and develop effective ways to bring them to life.

What are the techniques of customer discovery?

The techniques of customer discovery include:Understand your customer's pain pointsDefine and prioritize customer personasInterview your target customers to validate hypotheses about their challenges Apply Lo-fi testing to assess the validity of your hypotheses Building a customer journey map to visualize the entire journey and identify gaps

Product Management

8 Key Product Discovery Techniques to Empower Product Teams

Athira V S
Content Writer
July 20, 2023
8 mins read
14-day free trial

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IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion
IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1. What are product discovery techniques?
  2. 8 key product discovery techniques link
  3. Conclusion

As product managers strive to improve product management, don't overlook a crucial process – using the right product discovery techniques. 

These techniques enable you to create standardized and consistent processes to achieve product success. According to research, over 50% of product managers state that maintaining consistent product management processes is a significant challenge. This is where product discovery techniques come in. 

In this article, we'll explain the best product discovery techniques to help improve your product development process. 

What are product discovery techniques?

Image source: Freepik

Product techniques are iterative processes that help improve your product discovery process. They aim to provide a defined structural approach to uncover customer needs, identify problems, validate an idea, test potential solutions and eliminate risks. 

While product teams work on different projects and, as a result, apply different discovery frameworks using many discovery tools, applying the proper techniques is crucial for successful product development. 

In the next section, we'll explain the best product discovery techniques you can apply. 

8 key product discovery techniques

Product discovery techniques allow you and your product team to establish a process to gather ideas, validate and test them, and ensure they align with customer needs. Here are eight essential product discovery techniques to help get started.

1. Customer interviews and focus groups

Starting with your customers and working backward toward the product has always been the key to building a valuable product. This is possible through customer interviews and focus groups.

However, talking to customers can be challenging, especially when you don't know the right questions to ask.

Here are some ways to improve the quality of your customer interviews:

  • Ask the right questions – Phrase questions to force users to describe their experiences, including pain points. For example, including phrases like "Tell me about how you solved problem X with feature Y" or "When was the last time you used feature X?" can help understand user experience. The goal is to dig deeper into each point and uncover more about their experiences.
  • Document and organize insights – One best way to organize customer insights is through an opportunity solution tree.
  • Automate customer interviews – This makes it easy for customers to come to you by providing a means for them to book an interview date on your calendar. Embedding a calendar link in your interview invitation should do the trick.
  • Keep the interviews continuous – Instead of prolonged one-time interviews, think of the interview process as batches to conduct at regular intervals. This prevents both you and the customer from getting overwhelmed and helps you maximize every interview stage.

Our product discovery tool, Zeda.io, enables you to manage data from your customer interviews and focus groups through its robust feedback management system.

Image source: Zeda.io

For instance, it allows you to collect customer feedback from multiple channels like Slack, Intercom, Zendesk, and more. It also provides a single and organized view of all feedback so you can easily view, categorize and discover product opportunities.

2. Product and user analytics

Product and user analytics set the tone for improving your product strategy. The data from user analytics will help you understand how customers use your product.

It helps you answer questions like:

  • Which features do customers use the least? 
  • What actions do they perform the most? 
  • How many users come back to use the product repeatedly? 
  • Are users happy with our product features?

To answer these questions and more, you need to focus on critical product management metrics (retention, engagement metrics etc.) and analytics events that reveal user behavior and engagement.

From there, you can transform the data into valuable insights to guide product development.

Many solutions can help you achieve this. You can start with our AI-powered insights dashboard.

Image source: Zeda.io

This feature provides a comprehensive view of your customer’s needs, enabling you to place customer value at every stage of your business model.

It also:

  • Analyzes customer data and creates a detailed report on how it impacts your product discovery process
  • Helps you analyze segment cohorts and customer attributes and then transform the insights into actions
  • Enables you to capture high-priority initiatives and focus on what to build during the discovery process

3. Competitor analysis

Even if you get user feedback and use analytics data to improve product development, chances are your competitors are already doing the same and more. How do you make your solution stand out? This is where competitor analysis comes in.

It is a crucial aspect of your product discovery process that will help you evaluate the market and identify gaps in available solutions.

Additionally, competitor analysis helps you better understand user needs your product may not be meeting. Are there some features that users demand? What are other users saying about your competitors' solutions? Digging into these questions will help you uncover gaps your solution can fill up.

Remember, your competitors also apply product discovery techniques to enhance their features, so you need to go the extra mile and analyze their solutions. Create a spreadsheet of their strengths, weaknesses and features, then identify ways to stand out.

4. User journey mapping

You’ll gain a lot of feedback as you conduct customer interviews or run surveys, but how you manage customer feedback is what will make a major difference in your initial product discovery.

This is where user journey mapping comes in. It helps you take the perspective of your users and translate them in visual and chronological order, including everything about the user, from pain points, thoughts, emotions and actions throughout their journey.

We've highlighted the steps to create a user journey map:

  • Define the scope of the journey mapping, including your goal and how you intend to identify gaps, remove frictions and improve usability
  • Create a user persona highlighting their industry, pain points, goals, aspirations
  • Develop your user journey by gathering user actions at every touchpoint, then organize them
  • Develop customer stories to capture real-time feedback

Zeda.io provides an AI-powered feedback management module to help with your user journey mapping. It allows you to identify and connect similar customer feedback to interpret the feedback patterns accurately.

This AI feature also generates tags so you can easily categorize different kinds of feedback.

5. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a tried and tested product discovery method that enables everyone on your product team to tap into their creative reserve. During brainstorming meetings, it can be tempting to begin without an agenda or clear plan; however, you may end up with nothing but an unstructured roadmap or scattered scribbled notes.

To get your brainstorming sessions right, you need structured, visual frameworks that will direct the flow of the sessions and uncover unique insights.

To put this into context, we’ll show you ways you can use Zeda.io to get the best out of your brainstorming sessions.

Zeda.io helps you transform your brainstorming ideas to develop effective product strategies and measure outcomes through its strategy plan tool.

With this feature, you can:

  • Capture unique insights during brainstorming
  • Create a comprehensive view of your journey and identify any potential roadblock
  • Update your plans as you prioritize and uncover more opportunities
  • Keep all stakeholders focused on the key objective through live roadmaps

6. Prioritization

Amidst many ideas, feature requests and customer feedback, knowing the most important ones to focus on can be challenging. Some features may not be feasible to implement or you could have monetary restrictions, so it is essential to prioritize what to focus on in your product discovery roadmap.

This is where you apply prioritization frameworks -- they are strategic guidelines to help you judge the value of potential solutions in your product development.

While there are different prioritization frameworks to choose from, your goal is to start with a quick and simple technique that reinforces your minimum viable product. Here are some of them:

  • RICE framework – offers a scoring system for each product based on reach, impact, confidence and effort
  • Value vs. effort – helps you create a graph of the predicted value of a product or feature vs. the effort required to build it. This will help you clearly understand of the importance of a specific product and the risk behind creating it
  • Story mapping – helps you arrange user stories in visual charts to create a bird's eye view of how they apply in the user experience

During prioritization, you can use our user feedback module to gain a holistic view of user feedback and quickly gauge high-value feature requests and customer feedback. You can also use our pre-built prompts to deeply examine customer feedback and develop solution-based ideas.

Image source: Zeda.io

To explore this feature, you can sign up for a 15-day free trial.

7. Prototyping

Prototyping enables your product team to bring their product ideas to life. The prototypes your development team will create depend on the ideas they want to test and the open questions they have. Here, they need to analyze each idea, answering questions like:

  • Can the idea solve the problem at hand? 
  • Is it feasible? 
  • Do we have the necessary tools and resources to build it?

Sometimes straightforward paper prototypes or sketches are enough. In other cases, you may need prototyping tools to create clickable prototypes or minimum-viable products.

When building a prototype, Zeda.io can help you make an effective product roadmap and collaboration center for your development team to communicate strategic plans and timelines.

You can also use this roadmap feature to track real-time progress and receive instant notifications on project changes.

Even more, you can define and track key milestones to ensure your project is on the right track.

8. Viability testing

Even though you've created your product discovery prototypes, it doesn't end there. You need to conduct viability testing for your prototypes, which helps you determine if your viable product meets the needs of your business revenue, brand, customers and employees.

Here are some ways you can get started:

  1. Align your product discovery methods with your product marketing team to understand their perspective before development
  2. Ensure your finance team understands the cost to build and sell your product so everyone can conclude on a feasible budget
  3. To create a viable product, you must interact with customers and apply their feedback through every stage of your product development

Conclusion

Starting your product discovery without proper techniques can lead to a chaotic development process, but you can avoid this by employing product discovery frameworks in your product management.

The eight product discovery techniques explained above allow for a thorough and structured approach to product development. This way, you can uncover hidden customer problems, validate ideas and create a roadmap to visualize the entire process.

Remember, continuous product discovery is necessary to gain the best insights and manage your product backlog. Using a product discovery tool can help you efficiently conduct product discovery.

Zeda.io provides AI-powered product discovery tools that help product teams to make data-driven decisions by analyzing customer needs and user behavior and identifying trends in the market. You can sign up for a 15-day free trial to explore our tools.

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