good product manager knows we should be talking to customers early and often, so we can understand their needs, desires, pain points and preferences. When we don’t have these conversations, the results are apparent: features nobody uses, products that don’t meet customer needs, etc. Talking to real or potential users is the way to get a deeper understanding of the real problems your product can solve. But, when does this “talking to the customer” actually occur? When is there time in a product manager’s day to identify the right people to speak with, understand their pain points, share prototypes, and get feedback? Where in the Agile development process is there room for this?
This is a challenge faced by many Agile product teams. While many organizations invest in delivery frameworks through the implementation of Agile, etc., few have made a similar investment in driving toward the right outcomes. The larger the organization, the greater the problem. To overcome this, organizations have to be much more intentional about creating the space to make discovery happen, otherwise things will always get in the way.
Discovery is the creative product management response to this challenge. Make customer conversations part of the development cycle to ensure a balanced investment in both outcomes and outputs.
To learn more about a discovery process that allows for the balanced investment in both outcomes and output, read the article that Stephanie Allen and I published on Medium.