The more I work with product teams, the more I fall in love with the continuous discovery process. I’ve found the best product teams are those that embrace learning what experiences will materially change their path forward and are not afraid to fail. This means they need a culture of learning, where they are not judged on success and or failures.
It’s more valuable to be wildly unsuccessful but learn several key things from that experience, than to be successful and not know why. Reward teams for their learning are whether they succeeded or not because they can now make decisions based on evidence, not opinions.
Whoever fails the most wins. - Seth Godin
If you fail too big you don’t get to learn any more, so it’s important to fail on a small scale and often. Prototypes are a space where you can test out ideas for a while, long enough to get good at it by failing and not annoy your audience.
Doing is the best kind of thinking. - Tom Chi
To learn if something will be successful I encourage you to think about how you can use prototyping in more places. A prototype helps to visualise an idea and to answers of desirability, feasibility, viability or usability. The power of prototyping is immense; from improving your thinking to communicating your ideas and to help make better decisions.
The purpose of a product team should be understanding human behaviour and to see if what you build can modify that behaviour over time. To understand if that idea has the potential to make a behaviour change before you build it. Turn these un-validated assumptions into hypothesis that you can test with users, customers and key stakeholders.
The key to prototyping is been able to do it quickly. Focus on answering a specific questions, evaluating the most promising ideas with a design that is adaptable to feedback and the understanding that most of it will be thrown away. This allows you to decide what to do fast, and then only if it is desirable, feasible and viable should you design for scale.
When you have a good cadence of customer feedback and you’ve automated the recruitment process. You’ll want to have things ready to test togather those key learnings. However, fight the urge to polish your prototypes, rather test whatever the team are basing their decisions on that week in order to capture evidence and key learnings.
Testing your ideas in a way that generates reliable and actionable feedback, will allow your team to iterate and turn assumption into great solutions. In addition to optimising the experience, look for delightful moments where customers have a behavioural response to your product. Through the rigger of each experiment you run, you’ll learn something new about your product and your customers.
You probably know all of this already, but have you implemented design thinking into your product discovery. I would love for this to be the norm and to help those without a solid discovery strategy.