Product Discovery: Building Digital Product from scratch - Experts Zone Talks #9 | frontendhouse.com
product discovery workshop, building digital product, product development

August 13, 2021

Product Discovery: Building Digital Product from scratch - Experts Zone Talks #9

Olga Vasylenko

Marketing Specialist

Cezary Lewczuk

Project Manager
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project management(4)
web development(3)

Schedule a workshop for Your startup.

Today Cezary will explain to us what for and for whom is designed our Digital Product Discovery Workshop. You will get answers on:

  • 00:43 - What is the Product Discovery Workshop?
  • 01:31 - Is it a necessary stage of every development process?
  • 03:03 - Who needs the Product Discovery Workshop?
  • 07:12 - What are the stages of the Product Discovery Workshop?
  • 13:57 - How to prepare for the Product Discovery Workshop?
  • 17:03 - Do we need only one Product Discovery Workshop?

Thank You for watching our 9th episode of Experts Zone Talks, hope You like it?

Transcription

Olga
Hi. My name is Olga and this is Experts Zone Talks. Today we will talk with Cezary. Hi Cezary.
Cezary
Hello. Happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Olga
Are you happy?
Cezary
Yeah, as usual.
Olga
Okay. I believe you. Today we will speak about the Product Discovery Workshop. What is this and who needs it? So let's go.
Cezary
Let's go.

What is the Product Discovery Workshop?


Olga
So what is the Product Discovery Workshop?
Cezary
Product Discovery Workshop is a workshop, so it's quite self explanatory. I would say that it's a place where the business needs and business intelligence meets with technical support from the tech side and the dev site. So it's a place where your expectations as a business owner or product owner are trying to catch up with all the stuff that is technically possible to achieve or how it is supposed to be done, and what are we gonna do in what priorities. It's a place where you expect to deliver some stuff in some kind of scope, and we will check how it is done, which technology we should pick, what time scope will deliver it. Its goal is to fully define the scope of work and goals that need to be achieved, but also to set expectations for all the people involved in it.

So basically, it's a place where you can find how it's done and when it will be done.

Is it a necessary stage of every development process?


Olga
So it is a necessary stage at the very beginning of the development process?
Cezary
Basically, yes. We can say that it's quite necessary. I wouldn't say that it must have. But without it, you will have a lot more trouble. The main stuff we do in the discovery workshops is to identify all of the risks, trying to find out that your target group is correctly specified, what are your expectations from the app. We create a Canvas GO Model which will identify the target groups, as I mentioned before, and find out what is the part of the market you can target to achieve a bigger success. Thanks to the discovery workshop you will be able to streamline the entire product development process.

So basically, we use our knowledge of the market, our knowledge of tech development, and trying to pick the best solution that will be created for you on it specifically for the expectation you have on the market. And what do you want to achieve? So we're trying to figure out the best way for a product to achieve success on the market.
Olga
If you need help with your project, you can always contact us via contact form.
Cezary
If you have any basic questions, like the basic stuff that you really want to know, like how we do this and when we do this, you can always reach us on frontendhouse.com and use the contact form to ask us questions. I will be happy to support it.
Olga
Links are in the description here.
Cezary
Here.

Who needs the Product Discovery Workshop?


Olga
My next question is, who needs this workshop? Who is perfect for them?
Cezary
Basically, we create the workshop plan for everyone. So when we know what your problem is, we'll define the plan that will fit your needs. For example, if you are at the beginning of your road, so you're kind of a startup or a small company that has some idea or product vision, or maybe you're the old company that already exists on the market, but you're trying to digitize your needs and adjust to new business goals, or you’re a market share trying to catch up someone in the Internet...

So if you are at the start of your road, at the planning phase, it’s a good turning point for you to reach us, because when we are at the beginning, there is a small margin for mistake. So if we will have such information at the beginning of the road, it will be easier to target the needs, identify the risk, try to prioritize going through the Minimum Viable Product and target the MVP. So basically the start is a great idea.

The second option is trying to grow your application. So you already have something - you're trying to make it bigger, you're trying to conquer some other stuff, you're trying to conquer other parts of the market. So it is always a good idea to go through the discovery phase. I would say that we mainly target the successful product. I've encountered some kinds of projects in my history, and it works well because when we create personas... After creating user personas, we set the basic milestones, so we're trying to work on the backlog (crucial for the entire process of software development) and trying to create some kind of epics, and so on. Depends…This is why this Product Discovery Workshop is quite important, because we will always select the methodology- scrum is not always good in product development.

So we will choose some kind of other methodologies. We will figure out the way to measure your target. So we will also use the EBM techniques, which I mentioned in my previous podcast.
Olga
Yeah, you can watch the previous podcast with Czarek here.
Cezary
Basically, if you're trying to open something new or when you even have a struggle with delivering your current project, so maybe I would say that it's always a great time to start over. I know that it requires a lot of, how to say it, a business knowledge to understand that we're going the wrong way and we have to start from the scratch. So this is always the best way. And sometimes there is no need to start over. We can just try to figure out what you already did and revisit this, measure it again, trying to figure out what went wrong.

So yeah, I would say for almost every step, except for the closing steps, it's a good idea to try again. Go reach out to us. But basically the best way to gain as much as we can from those workshops is when you're trying to start from the beginning, as soon as possible. So, I mean, not extremely as soon as possible, because when you have an idea, I want to start a new Facebook, then this is not a good idea to go to us when you just have an idea.

But yeah, if you only have an idea, we can still give you support to write this idea into some kind of plan and figure out the way of doing the next steps, like creating documentation and some planning phases. So basically, yeah, it's for everyone. And if you're asking for the personas, then I would say the Product Owners, the stakeholders, sponsors, managers of the high level - they are the people who should make such a decision. But I always believe that they have acknowledged the business as much

So they should know how much valuable it is for the product or for the company.
Olga
So it doesn't matter if you are a startup in the beginning of your way or you're a more advanced business, you can always...
Cezary
Yeah, you will always find something that you will gain from this. So like I said, we try to be as agile as we can, so we'll try to find the best way for your current needs to be achieved during the product workshops.

What are the stages of the Product Discovery Workshop?


Olga
What are the stages of the discovery product workshop?
Cezary
So it's again, a tricky question because there is no specific way. There is no one good way for product workshops to be done. It depends on your needs. So if I have to give you an answer, just a quick basic one, then the beginning is the meeting with some kind of representation from your site and the people who will be engaged from our site. So most of the time we offer you the support of our technical leader, Krzysztof, who you already know from our previous podcasts.

You already know him. So this is the one person, he is quite important because he's responsible for choosing the technology, the way, the architecture. It's also quite important because the time you will spend on choosing the best tech stack for new product requires a lot of knowledge, so we can speed up the process by using our experience, which is highly great in this field. So, yeah, Krzysztof or some kind of technical leader. We will also always give you the support of the project manager from our site. So a person who is responsible for the scope and the way the methodology will be delivered and the team we will collect for them.

I mean, there is a lot of stuff in the project team. Our graphics, someone who is an expert in the UX field because as always we start from the UX. And someone who has a big understanding, except for the UI, also I would say the design thinking, which is quite necessary here. Ok, I would say this is the project team and the first step we will cover is getting as much as we can from your head. So understanding the project, the concept, the value you're trying to deliver, the call monetization stuff.

So how do you want to earn money from your application, if you want to earn money of course. So this is the basic question, like the first question. To be honest, we have prepared the basic matrix with questions. That's like 70 questions that are, quite frankly speaking, basics of the understandable to give us the knowledge of understanding from where you're going. Right. So the technology is if you have someone, because you might already have a concept of the product development and which technology you want to use. So this is the one thing.

Yeah, so it’s the basic stuff. The second one is to create the user personas, which is quite important for us to understand which are your targeting group. Who are you looking for? Who is your typical user? I would say who is the less typical user? Let's think about the user journey, let's focus on customers. From my perspective, it's quite important. I see how important it is for the development team to understand for who we are creating such a feature. It's easier for them to understand and find a better solution. Because if we work on Instagram, you have to be aware that you have to know what's the best way to solve the problem.

And if you already know who you are targeting, then you can find the best solution. So when you have an aware team in the middle of development, they can understand that this is not going to work for this person. So we'll always have this red button that will allow us to stop delivering something that is not necessary for the client, something that will not fulfill his needs. This is quite important. So we have personas. After personas, obviously, we're creating the user stories that are targeting specific person, specific personas. So the user stories are based on personas we already created.

Targeting the MVP as a part of the discovery workshops.


Cezary
The next step is to prioritize your needs. So we're targeting the MVP, probably always we are targeting the MVP. Even if it's not the start of the application, we are targeting what's the value of your product and what's the minimum we have to create for your application to go on the market and start earning some money.
Olga
By the way, you can watch an interview with Chris about MVP if you need more information.
Cezary
Yes, it's quite important to be honest, because MVP is the start of everything. So we will try to prioritize your needs and new features and core functionalities from the most important ones to the additional ones. We will try to select without which one the application will not work and will not fulfill any needs. So at this stage of creating digital products, we're also trying to figure out what’s the base, what’s the first step, define what’s the most used part of the application. So this is also quite important from the point perspective of a developer, because when we are creating storybooks, for example, we know which components need to be created first.

If you work in React, for example, when there are some kind of components, then we can figure out which way to start so we can plan better work. So, yeah, this is the next step. Which will be the next step? I think the Canvas GO Model, which is also helpful. This is the stuff we create. Once in a while we create that outside of the workshop, so this is the part of the workshop. The discussion goes into the workshops, but the document you will receive, we need time to create it.

So basically, gathering the information is the most important part here. And the point of focus from our perspective is to understand your product. And then there are always other meetings. There are other calls that will make us fulfill your needs and understand how to create the documentation - the documentation that will give you value.

What if a client comes to you with the idea and then realizes that it makes no sense?


Olga
Did you have a situation when clients came to you with the idea and then realized that it makes no sense?
Cezary
Yeah. Sometimes it's quite a fragile topic because we try to work with people who love their product because they share a similar type of passion that we share for the development. So it's never a situation when you can tell the person, like “It doesn't make sense”, because every idea has a sense if you love it and if you put enough energy into this, you can achieve your goals. So I would never say that there is a situation where we just say “Don't do it. It doesn't work”, because it shouldn't be like that.

There is always a way. From our side, we're trying to say that this is not supposed to be the midpoint of focus in your application, I would say. So we're trying to figure out the best way to reach some kind of targeting groups that will help you guarantee your success. So, yeah, this situation shouldn't ever occur. I would say “They're good, never say never” and we're always trying to find the best way to solve it.

How to prepare for the Product Discovery Workshops?


Olga
Next question, how to prepare for the Discovery Workshops or answering those 70 questions?
Cezary
I mean, not really. This is just the first step. So this is just like the basic stuff you have to fulfill before we even start the conversation, because we will save time. Money is the time. So you can answer our basic questions without our interference, then you save the money. And it's always better information for us on the other hand. So we're always focusing on some kind of business value, the return of the investment you will put in when you're trying to give us this product workshop.

So we're always thinking about the business value in the first place. I think that the most important thing that you have to know is to collect as much information from your product that you have in your hand and give the information to us. You have to have as much as possible the knowledge about the market, your competition on the market, how big of the share market value you can hit on.

You don't have to know the answers to this question, but you have to think about it because this is the question we are gonna ask you.

We always do some kind of research. We're trying to answer that. We have some knowledge about some kinds of markets, like the IoT, we have great competencies. So we know a lot before we even start the conversation, we have a big knowledge in the topic. The communication, finances, even the health care. There are some topics that we already understand and the whole ecommerce stuff. It also gives us some kind of advantage, because we develop so many projects in these fields that we already have the knowledge.

So we can help you with our experience. But the main topic and the thing we discuss in the workshops is to exchange our experience. So we have to know what you know. Most of the time the people who come to us with some kind of idea or product vision created it in their head, so they know when they want to target, what they have, how much money they have. So we already know this information and we can exchange our experiences so we can say things like “Okay, some people before you tried this and this is the risk you will have to face”.

So because we did this already, we know that this is the trouble. This is the trouble. Even some kind of cultural influence on your market, the market you're trying to target. And there are different lows. For example, if you're trying to target the Asian market, you have to understand there are other fonts there, the language, the whole culture there is different from the European one. The same goes for western culture. So even the laws, the data protection laws that are still constantly changing in Europe. The restriction goes far beyond our understandable needs.

So, yeah, this is the stuff we are on time with them. We understand them. We can help you with them. But you have to think from our perspective what questions we can ask. That's why you received the questions. You don't have to answer them. You don't even have to fulfill this whole excel stuff. You just have to think about it, because this is the most important stuff that will allow us to give you the best advice we can.

Do we need only one Product Discovery Workshop?


Olga
And maybe more workshops are needed on the further process of development? Or do we need only one Product Discovery Workshop at the beginning of our development?
Cezary
It's a hard question and there is no good answer for it, because if you create the first phase of the workshop, the Discovery Workshop, we can end, because when we're going to do other workshops later in the future, they are not going to be the Product Discovery because we already discovered the product. So the discovery phase is done. We can eventually rediscover it with the project team in the future. But there is a whole different scene there. So basically the Product Discovery Workshops are at the beginning, at the start, when we're trying to understand the products, where we're going with it.

Most of the time, there's no need to do another one, but we're always trying to engage the Product Owners from the client’s site to reach to us with some questions, because most of the time when we create these workshops, the Product Discovery, we are go gathering the knowledge that is needed for the beginning, for the targeting. So we're understanding the way we are going. From my past experience, the Project Managers from the client’s company are reaching out to me, on LinkedIn for example, and they have questions like “What's the next steps?

We already achieved our MVP, what should we do next?” So most of the time there is no need because we're trying to give you as much knowledge as we have in creating the product. So basically, you will know what to do next. If you don't know, you can reach back to us. If there is a big project, right? Because the products are different. Like I say, for example, you're creating a new Instagram, so there might be a need for another workshop or the round of workshops, because we're just trying to put the product on the phases.

So we also create some kind of roadmap. And we reach phase one, we reach the MVP. And then there is a time to do another market research, trying to figure out... This is why the EBM is quite important now, because we have to challenge ourselves to understand if we are reaching our goal. If we are not reaching, then what needs to be changed. The experiment on this face is a necessary stage, so we did not miss it. But if there is a need? I would say no, there is no need.

There might be a need, but most of the time, we will have all the knowledge you should have at the stage to give yourself another round of brainstorming and understanding what we’re going through. So we'll give you the questions that you need to ask yourself, so you will know what to do next. So most of the time, there is no need. If there is a need, which is justified by the situation of your projects, we can always arrange such workshops, but they will be not the Product Discovery Workshops.
Olga
Okay, so I understand now. If you have more questions you can ask here in the comments and Czarek will answer, right?
Cezary
Yeah, obviously, no problem. You can reach out to me directly or through the comments, no problem.
Olga
I think that's it. Thank you for the interview. High five!
Cezary
Thank you Olga.
Olga
That was great. You can watch other videos on our channel and see you next time.

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Meet the authors

Olga
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Olga Vasylenko

Marketing Specialist

Cezary
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Cezary Lewczuk

Project Manager

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