In this MTP Engage Manchester talk, Randy Silver (a freelance product consultant) takes us on a journey of discovery, with dragons, giants and better decisions. He explains to us the true meaning of product and discovery, while showing us how to use discovery more effectively to help in our jobs as product people. His key points include:
- What is a product?
- What is discovery?
- What is the job of a product person?
Read on for a summary of Randy’s talk or watch the video to see his talk in full.
First of all, What is a Product?
Products have various definitions, depending on who is answering the question. The definitions given by a person in product management, by law, or by a person in marketing can vary. It even depends on where you sit in an organization. According to Randy, a product is something that serves a need and yields enough profit to justify its continued existence. Ultimately, it’s hard to say what is and isn’t a product.
Okay, so What is Discovery?
Discovery is the process of finding information, specifically for the first time. When ancient explorers found “new worlds” they also found people already living there, which begs the question: are we actually discovering something if other people already know about it? The better definition is that, in most cases, we are actually learning.
While the product life cycle seems like a straightforward process, as product people we know that this isn’t the case. The very beginning of the product life cycle focuses on insight where the framework is set. Then comes the discovery phase where we learn something new for the first time. After that, everything else should be considered learning as we aren’t discovering anything new. Instead, we are simply refining our own hypotheses.
The job of a Product Person
The ancient explorers used dragons and other things on their maps to represent the unknown, rather than fill the map with empty space. The job of a product manager is to navigate around the unknown using OKRs, making bets, and removing biases. It also requires that you communicate with customers – not to simply talk to them, but to listen to them so that we can gain more insights.
The final takeaways from Randy’s talk are that through insights, we can remove the obstacles from the map so that we can discover and learn.