Using discovery methods to create products that people actually want by Jenny Shirey "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs June 06 2021 False Product Discovery, ProductTank, San Francisco, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 574 Shutterstock image showing four dice showing human brains and one light bulb Product Management 2.296

Using discovery methods to create products that people actually want by Jenny Shirey

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Have you ever made a product or feature that no one wanted? In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Jenny Shirey, then Senior UX Manager at Splunk, explains how product people can avoid this problem by showing us how to use product discovery the right way.

The key points of her talk include:

  • We are not our users
  • Understanding what others want
  • Product discovery methods

Watch the video to see Jenny’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of her key points.

We are not our users

As product people, it’s common for us to develop various hypotheses about the features users want from our products and then try to implement these features. However, as Jenny illustrates with the help of some A/B testing product examples from her time at Splunk and Trust Pilot, we’re not going to be right all the time. The key to understanding what users want is through  product discovery.

Understanding what others want

As a product manager, finding out what your users want can be done by asking the right questions. According to Jenny, four key questions, in particular, can help with getting the correct answers.

  1. Will they use it? This indicates the value of the product.
  2. Can they use it? This can provide answers to the usability of the product.
  3. Can we build it? This answers questions about the product’s feasibility.
  4. Can we support it? This explains if the product is viable for the business.

Product discovery methods

Jenny highlights three product discovery methods that she has found particularly useful, explaining why to use it, how to use it, and things to watch out for with each method.

Opportunity canvas

Opportunity canvas is an excellent way to find out what you know and don’t know and help get the team on the same page. The canvas, which is similar to the business model canvas, should take roughly an hour to fill out. Still, product teams should avoid going into in-depth conversations or doing this instead of talking to users.

Interview summary sheets

Interview summary sheets provide a way to quickly synthesize learnings from interviews and get away from the computer. First, product teams should write sticky notes during user interviews and then place them on a sheet. Teams should be wary of multi-tasking and not writing notes. Also, some online tools can be used to do this remotely.

Crazy eights

Crazy eights are useful in helping product teams think big and consider the user environment. After starting with a pain point, eight sketches should be created to come up with ways to solve that pain point. However, product managers should beware of spending too much time on one drawing and team member critiques when using this method.

While other product discovery methods are available, the most important thing is that the method you choose helps you find out what your users want and need.

Discover more Product Discovery content or, for a wide range of product management topics, visit our Content A-Z.

Enjoy more from ProductTank

ProductTanks are informal meetups, created by Mind the Product, to bring local product people together and to enable speakers to share amazing product insights. Today we have ProductTanks in more than 200 cities across the globe and there’s probably one near you.

Learn more about ProductTank – find your local meetup, explore more ProductTank content, see the latest ProductTank news, and discover ways to get involved!

Have you ever made a product or feature that no one wanted? In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Jenny Shirey, then Senior UX Manager at Splunk, explains how product people can avoid this problem by showing us how to use product discovery the right way. The key points of her talk include:
  • We are not our users
  • Understanding what others want
  • Product discovery methods
Watch the video to see Jenny’s talk in full. Or read on for an overview of her key points.

We are not our users

As product people, it’s common for us to develop various hypotheses about the features users want from our products and then try to implement these features. However, as Jenny illustrates with the help of some A/B testing product examples from her time at Splunk and Trust Pilot, we’re not going to be right all the time. The key to understanding what users want is through  product discovery.

Understanding what others want

As a product manager, finding out what your users want can be done by asking the right questions. According to Jenny, four key questions, in particular, can help with getting the correct answers.
  1. Will they use it? This indicates the value of the product.
  2. Can they use it? This can provide answers to the usability of the product.
  3. Can we build it? This answers questions about the product’s feasibility.
  4. Can we support it? This explains if the product is viable for the business.

Product discovery methods

Jenny highlights three product discovery methods that she has found particularly useful, explaining why to use it, how to use it, and things to watch out for with each method.

Opportunity canvas

Opportunity canvas is an excellent way to find out what you know and don’t know and help get the team on the same page. The canvas, which is similar to the business model canvas, should take roughly an hour to fill out. Still, product teams should avoid going into in-depth conversations or doing this instead of talking to users.

Interview summary sheets

Interview summary sheets provide a way to quickly synthesize learnings from interviews and get away from the computer. First, product teams should write sticky notes during user interviews and then place them on a sheet. Teams should be wary of multi-tasking and not writing notes. Also, some online tools can be used to do this remotely.

Crazy eights

Crazy eights are useful in helping product teams think big and consider the user environment. After starting with a pain point, eight sketches should be created to come up with ways to solve that pain point. However, product managers should beware of spending too much time on one drawing and team member critiques when using this method. While other product discovery methods are available, the most important thing is that the method you choose helps you find out what your users want and need. Discover more Product Discovery content or, for a wide range of product management topics, visit our Content A-Z.

Enjoy more from ProductTank

ProductTanks are informal meetups, created by Mind the Product, to bring local product people together and to enable speakers to share amazing product insights. Today we have ProductTanks in more than 200 cities across the globe and there’s probably one near you. Learn more about ProductTank – find your local meetup, explore more ProductTank content, see the latest ProductTank news, and discover ways to get involved!