By the end of 2021, I had the opportunity to re-record the classes I gave at Cursos PM3 on the fundamentals of product management. It was a good opportunity to review and expand the content based on the new experience acquired in recent years. One topic that I decided to expand on was the role of product management, design (UX), and engineering in discovery/delivery.
Discovery is normally led by product management and UX with some support from someone from engineering. It is when we focus on identifying and understanding the problem of users and test possible ways to solve this problem while checking if this possible solution will positively impact the business’s strategic objectives.
Delivery is normally led by product engineering with some support from the product manager and product designer. It is when we focus on delivering the solution we tested that showed the best indicators of its ability to solve our users’ problems while helping the company achieve its business strategic objectives.
These two tasks are not sequential, i.e., we should not wait until discovery is completed to a certain level in order to start delivery. Ideally, we should be constantly discovering and delivering and, in order to do that, we need to break down problems into their smaller sub-problems and test the most simple solution hypothesis to each of these smaller sub-problems.
When we discuss discovery and delivery, we normally leave out of discussion or, at most, discuss very lightly the fact that discovery has two sides or two perspectives:
As I mentioned earlier we should not wait until a task is completed to a certain level in order to start another task. They should be carried out simultaneously and the learnings and results from one task are a valuable input to the other task. During Problem Discovery, the product manager and designer are more involved. During solution Discovery, everyone should get involved. During Delivery, engineering is more involved. The image below tries to make these concepts more tangible:
One interesting tool to help during both problem discovery and solution discovery is Teresa Torres’ Opportunity Tree (as far as I know we are not related (= ):
Using this tool we can make clear to everyone, especially to ourselves and our team:
From the description above it is easy to see that desired outcome and opportunities are problem discovery-related while solution hypothesis and experiments are solution discovery-related.
So there you go, whenever you work on product discovery, remember its two sides, problem discovery, and solution discovery. It will make it easier for you and your team to understand what is the focus of each task.
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