Project Discovery

Project Discovery stage: entrust it to professionals

Managers of large corporations, small business owners, or startup founders constantly look for new niches and ideas for new products. It was for them that a process called Project Discovery was developed.

Usually, the idea costs nothing, but its implementation involves specific costs. Manufacturing, promotion, entering the market, and service can be a considerable burden on companies’ budgets. Often, when the costs were incurred, and the solution was introduced to the market, it turns out that although the idea was brilliant, the product was unsuccessful and did not bring the expected results. The reason for such an unfavorable situation for entrepreneurs is the lack of knowledge of the real needs of users. Why do products appear on the market that no one wants to use? There are several reasons, and they all lie at the very beginning of the project:

  1. The belief that our brilliant idea will defend itself, that there must be a demand for the product we have come up with, and that there is room for it on the market. However, this wishful thinking is not supported by any data or research results on the real needs of users.
  2. The idea and the resulting product solve a need that does not exist. It’s just that users don’t need to use our product because we haven’t checked to see if the problem our idea responds to is real, important, relevant, or common.
  3. We understand the problem, market gap, and need well, but we create the wrong solution on many levels: technical, legal, communication, interface, user path, etc. Because of this, the solution is useless and, therefore, still reluctantly used by the audience.
  4. The implementation of the product is preceded by a set of business requirements that are not validated, or there is a fear of negotiating them. We assume that someone successful (company owner, superior) knows best what is needed. It’s a ready recipe for failure and creating a product that users don’t need (only management needs).
  5. Once anchored in our minds, our thought limitations cause an idea to channel our thinking about the product. We stick to the path chosen at the beginning, and this established thinking ultimately leads to the creation of weak products. And the hardest thing is to see mistakes in your own products.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the project discovery phase.

Project Discovery: a way to avoid problems

Is it possible to verify ideas before launching the entire production and promotional machine? Is it possible to reduce costs and possible losses when placing the product on the market? How to discover products that someone really needs? The answer to these questions is Project Discovery. It is not, of course, a panacea for all our product problems, nor any rigid recipe for success. It must be treated very flexibly as an approach, a set of tools, an attitude, or even a philosophy in creating products or literally: in discovering products and projects.

Project Discovery is an iterative (repeated) process of reducing uncertainty around a problem or idea to ensure the right product is created for the right audience.

What is worth paying attention to in this definition is repeatability. Discovering the project is not only building, supported by knowledge, a solid basis preceding the production process, and implementing the product to the market. This is a continuous process of improvement, not a one-time examination. It is a process that complements the manufacturing process complements and simultaneously. Ideas must be verified continuously, and market feedback on already operating product elements must be analyzed, confirmed, changed, validated, and re-transmitted for manufacture. This feedback from the market appears as a charge for the next search to discover new things in our original idea. This approach works great with the agile production of products, where the most important thing is to inspect what we have already done and adapt to the current situation.

What will be helpful in discovering the project

In order for Project Discovery to be as effective as possible, it is worth applying a few rules. According to him, a successful Project Discovery requires the:

  • Right group of people, both programmers, designers, UX designers, and all interested stakeholders. It is important to use the knowledge of many experts; each of them will find their field of activity in such a project and can engage in many activities related to working on the product (e.g., a less technical person can conduct tests). Choosing the right solutions can change everything, so this part is of crucial importance (the solutions may be different, but take a look at some Django web apps: perhaps they will inspire you).
  • Focus on the problem, not its solution. Discovering a project is about making the future product have value to the user, whether emotional, business, or practical. Designing the appearance of the project and its operation are tasks after verifying the problem.
  • Patience in investigating the problem, so you should never start building an actual product unless you exhaust research and testing and answer the question of why users need this product. We shouldn’t hesitate to reject the idea if we still don’t find the answer to this question.
  • Talk to users because the value is face-to-face meetings with them, discussions, and collecting their expectations. It is important not to focus on the idea of the product during these conversations.

Project Discovery is an interesting approach for all creators who want to build tailor-made products following the expectations of users and the market. Numerous supporting techniques can be used in this approach; it is worth choosing the few most suited to the conditions of a given organization or project group.