Product Discovery Process #1: What is product discovery?

Date 23 June 2023

There is a magical way to save money, and it comes down to exercising "excessive" caution. The more assumptions you test before the application code is written, the less of it you'll have to throw in the trash.

Product discovery process

This is a brief description of the process professionally known as product discovery. During this process, hypotheses are constructed and then experiments are conducted to test them. By doing so, you reduce the risk of spending your budget unnecessarily on something that may turn out to be a failure.


Imagine you're building an app that will allow people to easily find a trustworthy psychologist. Let's call it "Find a Psychologist." On the surface of things, it seems like a simple task – it includes creating a database of psychologists and a search engine. However, in the course of the product discovery process, you may find the following:


    • Experienced psychologists have so many bookings that only the young and inexperienced ones want to advertise online.
    • Clients prefer to select psychotherapists based on self-presentation videos rather than relying on their photos.
    • Psychologists expect their patients to make weekly appointments at regular times.

The product discovery stage allows you to identify as many of these barriers as possible. Once you identify them, you have a chance to create a digital product that is more aligned with the users' needs and the market situation.

Create hypotheses and build prototypes

Let's go back to the example. Here's a list of just a few issues and ideas to check out before you start writing the code for your "Find a Psychologist" app:


    • How do people currently look for a psychologist? Do they use referrals? Or perhaps they are ashamed to ask anyone for advice and prefer to search anonymously? Or maybe it depends on where you live?
    • Do people look for a psychologist on the internet? Or are they looking more for psychological counselling centers?
    • Do psychologists use software to manage their calendars? Or do they prefer to record appointments using notebooks?
    • Is it possible to make a one-off appointment to see a psychologist, or do you have to book an appointment package right away?
    • What are the factors that guide people when choosing a psychologist? Self-presentation, experience, or education? Or do they want to see a photo or video to assess the character and personality fit?
    • Is the data that the application will process sensitive in nature? Is it not subject to legal restrictions?
    • Do psychologists have slots for new clients? Or are their calendars full?
    • Do psychologists use a pre-assessment interview before they invite clients?
    • Are psychologists willing to conduct sessions remotely, or do they prefer in-person meetings? What are their clients' expectations in this regard?


Experienced product teams, through prototypes, surveys, and more advanced methods, are able to test even 10-20 hypotheses per week. If within a week you can test something that would take months to program, you can save hundreds or thousands. On the other hand, if you attempt to build a product without going through the product discovery phase, then you are de facto testing a ready-made product. As a result, you may have to face the risk of customer dissatisfaction. The cost of making changes will consume much more time and resources than what you would normally spend on the product discovery phase.

Importantly, product prototypes are only shown to a narrow audience, so you don't have to worry about the negative impact on your brands reputation. It's not something you can release as a finished product that your company brags about and sells.

To ensure a comprehensive product discovery process, you can consider engaging product discovery services or working with a product strategy agency. These services specialize in assisting with the discovery phase services for product development, digital product discovery, and providing rapid product validation sprints.




CEO Sparing Digital 


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