As a product engineering company, we find ourselves in an eternal conflict trying to balance the needs of our customers today, while keeping an eye on the future to stay competitive and avoid becoming obsolete. It is a tough balance, but that’s what is required to achieve product excellence.
Companies need an outstanding product development life-cycle to fulfill the ever-changing needs of the customers. There are two key aspects of the product development life cycle: Discovery and Delivery. Most companies focus on the delivery part of the process. However, a strong product development cycle will begin with product discovery stage. It is a critical process to increase the probability of success for any new product or service launch.
However, many product engineering companies continue to fail in properly executing the product discovery cycle.
One of the top reasons that 80-90% of startups and new product launches fail is because they are creating a product that no one wants or needs to use.
Let’s explore some of the most common reasons why your product discovery might fail so that you can embrace and avoid failure while building products.
1. Concentrating On “Solutions” Than “Problems”
At times, experts tend to be focused on solving the problem head on without meticulously understanding the problem and its source first. Sometimes, it happens that the team end up believing that they know their customers very well. This makes them reluctant to find better alternatives, understand the real problems of their customers, ideas, and the possibility of new features, perhaps because they’re grounded in developing a solution with technology to meet deadlines.
However, when the product launches, things don’t go the way they thought. If you move too quickly into solution mode, it should not be the case that you skip real problem discovery.
A famous theoretical physicist – Albert Einstein said: “If I only had one hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes defining the problem, and the remaining 5 solving it.”
You can always work on solutions, but if you haven’t identified and studied the problem, your product will be less valuable.
2. Silos At Work
Discovery is cross-functional, which means that the discovery team must involve everyone from engineers, designers, marketers, lead managers, etc. We usually experience that every team works in silos: sales and customer team is involved in interaction with clients, design team is developing a prototype, and engineering team working to develop a solution.
However, the entire product development cannot be completed without the collaboration between the team members. Everyone should be involved in the discussion & learning phase and have direct communication with clients. Moreover, all the data gathered during the discovery process should be available with the team members.
Together, the team will be able to represent different solutions better and understand what's possible and they will build a product that truly meets the clients and the businesses expectations.
3. No Dual-Track Discovery
Many product development teams take up the ‘discovery’ activity only once that too at the beginning and never do it again. They think once the product concept is validated, there will be no change request from their client, which is hardly ever the case.
Discovery should be a continuous process. The discovery and the MVP [minimum viable product] development process go parallel while identifying the best possible solution to be developed during the final delivery phase.
This way the right solution is developed and delivered successfully. You need to keep measuring and learning, starting from the sprint 1 - and continuing in every sprint till the end of the development, in fact, even after you delivered a product successfully.
4. Single Method Of Testing
There is always some level of uncertainty lying in using a single method of testing. Relying on one method can significantly increase the risk of wrong validation of your ideas. It is always recommended to use two or more methods of testing to properly validate the ideas and assumptions. The likelihood of success can substantially increase. Consider using some of the testing methods as mentioned below:
- A/B testing
- Beta testing
- Analytics — Goal and path analysis
- Clickable prototype
- Focus groups
- In-person paper prototype testing
- Multivariate testing
- Online surveys
5. Discovery Cycle - A “One-Time” Process
You might think that once the discovery cycle is executed, the product launch will be successful. However, the discovery cycle never ends.
Right before the launch of your product, you have to outline success metrics to understand how well the solution actually performs, you have to collect actionable feedback from your latest changes, and, most importantly, you must collect all these information and feed it back into the Discovery cycle, in a continuous manner.
Whatever you learn before, during, and after a new feature launch, it is valuable information that can support your future decision-making.
Most of the time the product fails due to failure in discovery rather than failure in delivery. Stay tuned for our upcoming article that shows how the combination of People, Process and Technology can help you overcome the challenges that many organizations face in the product development cycle.
One of the best ways to overcome this problem is by talking to our product engineering experts on +1-609-245-0971 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Cygnet Infotech is an innovative product engineering service provider, putting discovery, and delivery at the center of the roadmap process that spans across the entire product development lifecycle.