Understanding the customer needs and developing a product which helps fulfill those needs, defines the usability of the product. With varied perceptions of the underlying problems, assumptions over customer behavior and cognitive bias for a solution, it may get cumbersome to determine the right product that delivers value.
To develop a usable product, it is important for all involved in product discovery to collaborate and develop a common vision, strategic goals and shared understanding. A meaningful product discovery helps to map problems to potential solutions, and potential solutions to expected results.
In this article, we will discover ways that can help teams with determining the key objectives and developing a common vision for the product.
Section 2: Users and Customers
Identify users and customers; describe their challenges that you are trying to address through this opportunity. The user and customers can either be the same group of people or different depending on the product. In general, customers are users who pay a cost for certain desired services e.g. premium accounts; unlike users who may be interested in basic or free offerings.
Identify the type of users and their distinct goals.
Section 3: What solutions exist today?
Discover what happens today. How users are working around the given problem. This will highlight the limitations of the current solution and as you discover this, you may come across more problems that may be hampering your customers
Section 4: Business Challenges
The challenges faced by users and customers are likely to impact your business. Persistent issues may disengage the users from your product and services. They may open opportunities for competition; which is a risk of losing business.
In the case of manual and time consuming repeatable efforts to serve customer needs, your staff may be constantly engaged in firefighting and have little opportunity to innovate and improve; it’s a growth risk. Discover how different challenges faced by customers are hurting your business?
Section 5. How will users use your solution?
As you discuss the problems and challenges or ponder upon an idea, you will discover potential solutions. In this section, think about how the user will interact with this potential solution? How will this solution impact the user behavior? And how do you expect users to benefit from it?
Section 6. User Metrics
How do you know if a given solution works well or not? Defining user metrics will help set objectives to measure the usability of the product. Based on the user behavior as gathered in the Section 5 above, think about the indicators that will help measure the degree of acceptance of your solution. How will you know that users find value in your solution?
Section 7. Adoption Strategy
Think about how customers will discover your solution. What channels may draw customers to your product. For instance, it could be either referral from existing customers or marketing through media. If your solution is for internal usage of the organization, think about how you will help users to migrate from their existing methods to a new solution.
Section 8. Business benefits and metrics
Once the users have adopted your solution; what impact is it likely to make to your business? And what are the parameters to measure that? The solution may be expected to generate outcomes like direct revenue growth through an increase in customer base; or remedy a loss-making business process.
Section 9: Budget
This section helps you evaluate and compare the proposed solution to any alternatives, based on economic feasibility. What are the implications of not addressing the problem? If the proposed solution is applied, what benefit it may bring to business in monetary terms? What budget may an organization allocate to experiment, learn and validate any assumptions about the proposed solution?
At the end of this exercise, you may expect some of the following outcomes
Once you have gathered your thoughts and have developed a shared understanding, it’s useful to summarize it and form a vision that group can stick and look up to in the course of building the solution.
A concise, compelling and unambiguous vision helps the team to remain focused on its product goals. A vision should define the product objectives, its intended customers, value proposition and differentiating factor from competitor’s product, or a predecessor product or workflow that you intend to replace.
The elevator pitch mentioned in Geoffrey Moore’s book “Crossing the Chasm”, is a popular template to define a product vision.
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