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Few techniques for Product Discovery

What is a Product?
As per Wikipedia, a product is an object or system made available for consumer use; it is anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy the desire or need of a customer.

As per BusinessDictionary, a product is a good, idea, method, information, object or service created as a result of a process and serves a need or satisfies a want. It has a combination of tangible and intangible attributes (benefits, features, functions, uses) that a seller offers a buyer for purchase.

In our discussion, even a service, a software application, a hardware product, a mobile app, a produced good, a manufactured vehicle etc. all are considered as products.

What is Product Discovery?
Product Discovery is a set of activities to understand ‘Are we building the right product?’. This is not a single phase bound by a limited time. This is a continuous process. This helps the Scrum Teams and stakeholders – especially the Product Owner to understand the end users, their behaviours, expectations, patterns, and prioritize the product features accordingly.

Six principles to consider during Product Discovery:
Teresa Torres – a Product Discovery Coach, devised the following 6 principles to be considered during a Product Discovery process.

  1. Start with Empathy for Your Audience
  2. Explore the Problem Space Indefinitely
  3. Map Your Way to Clarity
  4. Use Theory as Inspiration (Draw from first principles)
  5. Co-Create Solutions that Meet the Unique Needs of Your Audience
  6. Surface and Test Underlying Assumptions
Few techniques to perform Product Discovery:
User Research:
User research focuses on understanding user behaviours, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. This field of research aims at improving the usability of products, services, or processes by incorporating experimental and observational research methods to guide the design, development, and refinement of a product. User researchers often work alongside designers, engineers, and programmers in all stages of product creation and idealization.

User interviews
This is a very commonly used technique to perform user research. This is to spend good amount of time talking to the users, asking questions about their daily tasks, challenges and what eases their daily work.

Ethnographic research
This is an extreme way of performing user research – a technique leveraged for several years. This is about spending a lot of time – ranging from weeks to months to even a couple of years – to understand the users. The Product Owner (or a stakeholder) may live amongst the users to observe them, work with them, understand and empathize their daily routine, during the entire period. This gives a detailed information about the users’ thinking, their behavioural patterns to the Product Owner. This information can be leveraged to make intelligent decisions about the Product Strategy, Product Roadmap and the Product Backlog – the features, the business processes, the solutions to be offered to real-world users.

Interaction Design:
This is the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services. Beyond the digital aspect, interaction design is also useful when creating physical (non-digital) products, exploring how a user might interact with it. While interaction design has an interest in form similar to other design fields, its main area of focus rests on behaviour. Rather than analysing how things are, interaction design synthesizes and imagines things as they could be. This element of interaction design is what characterizes Interactive Design as a design field as opposed to a science or engineering field.

This is about designing the interactions between users and the products (software, hardware, mobile app, services etc.).

The five dimensions of Interactive Design are:

  1. Words
  2. Visual Representations
  3. Physical objects or space
  4. Time
  5. Behaviour
Example- PremierAgile:
When a learner navigates on this company website to know more about the company, the website loads number of participants trained, number of countries trained, number of trainings delivered, success rate in a digitally advancing number format.

Usability Engineering:
This is concerned generally with human-computer interaction and specifically with devising human-computer interfaces that have high usability or user friendliness. It provides structured methods for achieving efficiency and elegance in interface design. implies more of a focus on assessing and making recommendations to improve usability than it does on design.

Usability Engineers may engage in design to some extent, particularly through the design of wireframes or other prototypes.

A wireframe is a skeletal framework that gives a visual representation of how the product works or how it looks like. Serves as a communication tool and feedback mechanism.

A prototype is a first or preliminary version that is probably in raw format, but serves good enough to show and get user feedback. Example is a concept car that is built as a potential future model.

Visual Design:
Visual design aims to shape and improve the user experience through considering the effects of illustrations, photography, typography, space, layouts, and colour on the usability of products and on their aesthetic appeal.

As a field, Visual Design has grown out of both User Interface (UI) design and Graphic design. Visual Designers create the concepts, artwork and layouts for digital products based on creative briefs, client expectations and user behaviour.

  1. Marketing Brochures and Flyers – both print and digital media
  2. Email marketing templates
  3. Signage and billboards
  4. Infographics
Customer Experience Design:
Customer Experience Design is the practice of designing products and/or services with the focus on the quality and thoughtfulness of the user experience. Every touchpoint within the customer’s interaction with a product/service is designed to deliver experiences based on the brand’s promise. This helps in which a customer can interact with a brand, such as when purchasing or using a product or through seeing commercials featuring it.


Amazon boasts about designing their products that create best customer experiences. For example, customer experience about shipping the products next day using Amazon Prime, ease of shopping cart checkout, their return policy etc. Amazon’s aim to help customers find solutions to every problem and to be understanding about things like shipment dates and shoe sizes makes them an incredibly easy and pleasant entity for customers to work with.

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Scrum Guide www.ScrumGuides.org
  3. https://www.producttalk.org/2018/08/effective-product-discovery/ – by Teresa Torres.
  4. https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/amazing-interaction-design/ – by Emily Esposito.

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Suresh Konduru

The author is a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) certified by Scrum Alliance. He has more than 23 years of working experience in Fortune 500 companies globally. He conducts workshops for Scrum Alliance flagship certifications. Suresh uses real-world examples, group learning activities to make the workshops learning as well as fun. Trained more than 10,000 students globally, rated consistently 5 out of 5 on Google.