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Continuous Discovery

Continuous discovery focuses on constant feedback to make sure that customers are always satisfied with the newest iteration of your product. It helps you to focus on outcomes over outputs, by giving information about your users’ desired results. The processes followed ensure that you’re kept aware of user needs, and able to be innovative in the way that market problems are solved.

Continuous discovery ensures that your company can stay current, instead of being left behind by more progressive companies who can sometimes work more quickly than larger companies are able to.

Is Continuous Discovery just for new products?

It’s often assumed that continuous discovery should be used when building a new product, but it’s arguably more effective when used throughout the lifetime of a product. It’s rare that the first release of a product completely meets the needs of the market. By starting out with a minimum viable product (MVP) and learning from its usage, product managers can learn enough to identify the next set of changes – i.e., build, measure, learn!

Continuous discovery has been adopted most extensively within technology fields like app development where software needs frequent updates. It can apply to almost any type of product, however software products are the most likely candidates for this kind of development.

How do I do Continuous Discovery?

A great method to help you manage continuous discovery is Teresa Torres’ Opportunity Solution Tree (we’ve blogged about how to use it with ProdPad, too). The opportunity solution tree allows you to consider all possible routes to the best outcome, and makes it easier to help your stakeholders why you’ve chosen a specific solution to the problem being solved.

As our CPO and Co-founder Simon Cast says, “For every change, new feature, improvement, or rework, you should be doing product discovery so that you can constantly validate that there is a real problem to solve, that it is a real problem, and that solving it is worthwhile. Most importantly, you can see that solving this problem fits within the product vision and strategy.” Read more here.

What are the best methods to use for Continuous Discovery?

There are many ways to learn! One way is to use Lean Experimentation, where you make a small change to your product and monitor the outcomes – did the change do what you expected, or was it a failure?

Don’t rule out the value of a survey! Sometimes, to really understand what’s going on, you need a high volume of quantitative data. That will help you identify common responses to simple questions, so you know where to dig further.

A survey can help you discover more about the outcomes your customers are hoping for.
A survey can be a great way to learn what outcomes your customers are hoping for

It’s always good to speak to your users to understand their needs. Product managers are definitely more effective when they are listening to customers and understanding what problems they face on a day to day basis. Don’t forget to collect and analyse the customer feedback you get – it makes it much easier to identify the themes if you have your feedback all in one place.

Where can I learn more about Continuous Discovery?

We’re here to help! Teresa Torres is joining our CEO Janna Bastow for a webinar on this very topic – you can sign up for the webinar here.