Discovery for Software Products
According to the research by Startup Genome about 92% of new startups fail within the first 3 years, and the number one reason of their failure cited by CB Insights is the lack of product-market fit.
The solution to this problem is often some sort of diagnostic and exploratory process allowing the business owners to uncover those parts of a product that will help them make informed decisions about its future.
I (and many other designers) call this The Discovery, and I use this strategy to help you identify what your customer’s needs are and get actionable insights that will help you achieve your goals.
When Printdesigns wanted to create a new self-service for their budget customers and enable them to design their own artworks after purchasing inexpensive banner stands, they didn’t know what was at stake. Creating and integrating a custom design interface for printed products into their existing ecommerce platform could cost them as much as £20,000 in the first year.
It was a risky move.
Instead, I suggested to start with a discovery process that would help them find out whether there’s a real need for this type of self-service, the exact cost, and what would be the potential return on investment (ROI).
During our consultation, Printdesigns learned that those same budget customers they wanted to target are too small of a group to generate enough ROI to justify the cost of the implementation, not to mention bringing any profit. They naturally avoided spending £20k and later used this money to improve other areas of their business with a far higher ROI.
Make informed decisions
Without a solid foundation it's difficult to decide which features you should prioritise for your audience.
Discovery provides this foundation and uncovers elements that will help you make those decisions, avoiding costly mistakes.
Plan how to get to your goals
Half of your product's success is in having a clear picture of what you need to design and build.
The discovery stage helps define your product's roadmap and understand what to focus on next.
Discovery helps you reduce the risk by providing enough research and data to make sure you solve the right user problems.
The entire discovery and planning process takes between 1–2 weeks and involves two half-day workshops, either online or in-person.
Research + Strategy
The initial part of the process aims at defining business objectives for your project, whether that's improved customer acquisition or service cost reduction, and gathering enough data to figure out how to complete these objectives.
Planning + Outline
We now know what we want to achieve and how we're going to do it, so the next step is to create a plan, work out realistic timelines and cost, as well as define all deliverables. In addition, I use the audience research to create story boards/user flows.
Once the bulk of work is done, together we review the progress and process your feedback, making sure all objectives are covered and timelines are adequate. Finally, we lock down the deliverables and get your sign off.