The concept of Product Discovery is not new, but few companies these days are doing it, or are doing Discovery in a sufficiently structured way. A common question that I get is if I can help kickstart their Product Discovery process or structure their existing one. That usually starts with training to get the right mindset for Discovery, but often you can apply a plug-and-play process, a so-called playbook, to get things started.
The word playbook is most closely associated with American sports. It’s essentially a book full of plays, or tactics and scenarios, that the coach uses to direct the team during the game. Out on the field there are tactics, but you can never fully plan what’s going to happen. In Product Discovery, you can’t plan all the details up-front because Product Discovery is about learning. You will need to re-adjust the process as you progress. But using a playbook to get started can be a good way to learn the Product Discovery thinking.
For examples of playbooks, see my book about Holistic Product Discovery.
Another way of getting started is to, with the help of a coach, tailor a playbook to the team and context, something we call guiding. In other words, creating a process while actually doing Product Discovery. This has many benefits, but the main ones are that the team’s understanding of what Product Discovery might be will be deeper and their autonomy afterwards will be greater.
For a guiding example, see the case study below and read an excerpt from the book about this case study here.