What is Product Discovery? Our Guide to the Product Discovery Process, Frameworks, and Techniques

 min read
16 January 2023
Adam Gontarz
Adam Gontarz
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  • Intro

How good is the idea for an app? Is it going to work out how I think it will? Am I going to succeed with my monetization model?

Those are the head-scratching questions that come up in every CEO’s head before they decide to commit to a project. Sometimes the lack of answers can even make a person abandon an excellent idea, and we hate to see that happen. That’s why we offer a service called Product Discovery. 

Let’s talk about Product Discovery Service and why it should be necessary before any software development project. 

Who is the Product Discovery Service for?

Product Discovery is a service for almost everyone who wants to build software from scratch. If you have an idea for a mobile app and you need a product team to help you verify the concept, business model, and technical details, Product Discovery is exactly what you need. It’s a way to ensure that you’re building the right product. 

During the process, the idea is thoroughly analyzed on a technological and business level by a team of experts in mobile app development. In the end, the client and the software house have a much better understanding of the potential risks, challenges, and opportunities. 

Thanks to that, it’s possible to make much more accurate predictions, adjust the strategic details, such as the monetization model, and choose the best possible solutions in terms of technology and design.

As a software house, we want to put our clients in the best position to succeed, and there’s no way to do it without a deep knowledge of the idea and the challenges that may come up. That’s why we can’t recommend the Product Discovery Service enough and advise it in almost every case. 

What is a Product Discovery phase?

The best way to recommend Product Discovery is to tell what it exactly is. When you get into the process’s details, you’ll see how crucial it is, especially in the difficult and competitive area of mobile app development, where you have so many different paths to choose from. For example, Flutter development can be significantly faster than in the case of native solutions, but it may not be a possible option for your particular project. 

So, Product Discovery is a process of understanding the client’s idea, identifying potential challenges, and validating that the end product will serve its purpose and fulfill business goals. It tackles the concept from all relevant perspectives to ensure the project can become what it was intended to be, and it’s a foundation for a smooth, cost-effective, and risk-free development process.

The result of an effective Product Discovery process is a documented set of conclusions and proposals regarding the development process. And here’s what brings us to the role of product discovery in app creation. 

Product Discovery is not a part of the product development process. However, it should be considered an essential prelude. In most cases, project managers split a project’s life cycle into five phases:

  1. Initiation
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Control
  5. Closure

Within this model, Project Discovery is a core element of the project initiation and planning. It’s a vital part of the entire process that makes all the following phases possible (or at least manageable and efficient). 

Product discovery as a step 0 in software development process

What are the benefits of Product Discovery Service for a CEO?

More often than not, Product Discovery is a necessary step in the process of creating an app. But what exactly does it bring to the table for a CEO? 

Here are the answers:

A technique that helps you shape the initial idea for a product

Ideas tend to evolve, especially in the early stages. Product Discovery can be instrumental in this process because it helps you look at your project from many different perspectives and makes you ask questions that hadn’t come up before. It may uncover crucial risks and allow you to rethink your strategy, making the final idea significantly better than the original one. 

A better understanding of the product’s place on the market

Technological issues are as important as the business angle in Product Discovery. During the process, you’ll learn more about the user needs and potential place of the product among the competition, its biggest strengths, and potential risks.

Establishing a product roadmap

Product discovery helps teams build a roadmap for the new product. Knowing the needs of the potential customers, you’ll be able to choose the most significant features that should be prioritized in the development process. It will make further product management a significantly easier process.

Building the most effective monetization model

During the process, you’ll learn about the crucial factors that should determine the ideal monetization model. On top of that, you’ll be able to estimate the return on investment based on that model. 

Choosing the best solutions in terms of UX/UI design

The earlier we’re able to make crucial decisions in terms of UX and UI, the better (and less expensive) for the client. With the help of UX/UI experts, product discovery allows you to make those decisions and figure out the key guidelines that will make further proceedings much easier and faster. 

benefits of product discovery

Product Discovery framework in detail

To ensure that the process covers all the crucial angles, the Project Discovery team always has those three roles. 

  • Developers+Architect
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Project Manager

Our experienced developers conduct the necessary research and make decisions in terms of the technology. 

The UX/UI Designer’s responsibility is to prepare wireframes and prototypes of the product. 

And the Project Manager’s role is to prepare a business analysis and key requirements for the product. They also make sure the entire process goes smoothly. 

If a project requires that, additional roles can be added to the team. 

Depending on the project’s scope and complexity, the entire process can take a few days to a couple of months. However, the average time is 2-3 weeks. After that period, Project Discover Team is prepared to present a path to move forward with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or full product version. 

There are several product discovery techniques, but we’ve perfected our process based on the needs of our clients. Depending on the industry or the type of application, it can be slightly different, but the core remains very similar. For example, some of the industries and types of applications we’re experts at include:

By knowing the unique challenges in those areas, we’re able to adjust the process to the client’s specific needs and use our experience to shape those kinds of projects in an even better way.

But, in general, the product discovery framework in CrustLab includes four stages:

  1. Problem Discovery
  2. Problem Definition
  3. Solution Discovery
  4. Concept Validation

Here’s how those stages are placed in the entire software creation process. 

product discovery in software development

The first stage, Problem Discovery, is focused on the purpose of an app, the users’ needs, and how the product will answer them. It includes activities such as identifying all the potential stakeholders, creating a User Persona, and conducting market research. It’s the most research-heavy part of the process.

In the second stage, Problem Definition, we define problems and prioritize them based on their potential impact from the user’s perspective. Then, we’re ready to build a list of KPIs and North Star metrics.

The third stage, Solution Discovery, focuses on finding potential solutions to the previously enlisted problems. At this point, we’re already tackling those issues in both the technological and UX/UI way. 

The final step is Concept Validation, which means verifying those solutions by preparing mockups, MVP models, or even a prototype. After this stage, we’ll have product vision documentation, cost estimation, software requirements specification, and more. 

Product Discovery as CrustLab’s main service

In one of our most recent cases, a Flutter application for soccer players and coaches, you can read how product discovery helped us build an excellent and successful product. It’s a perfect example, especially because the initial idea exceeded the client’s budget by a significant amount. 

After learning all the project requirements, we were able to propose an alternative path that led us to the same outcome while saving a significant part of the budget. That’s precisely why we recommend the process to all our clients.

And if you want to put your project in the best position to succeed, we’re here to help. Let’s talk!

Contact us and get a free project estimation!

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