Discovery kickstarter

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.

Case study: Guiding through the playbook

A Playbook from King

Playbook for the team at King

Case client



A team whose mission was to build and maintain a game operations platform for operators and developers in a large gaming company had realised a year back that they needed some developer tools for building applications for that platform. This realisation came through feedback that it was hard to start creating applications, regardless of the knowledge and experience of the developer. The idea for tooling and support for the platform developers to fulfil their needs was born.


I was assigned to help out with the second stage of the project, when the team had understood there was a great need for deeper discovery to make sure they built the right thing. Since I was meant to help out over a longer period of time, the playbook I made was just shared briefly as a concept to the team, and then I gave them one part of the map at a time so not to overwhelm them.


  • Discussions with the team to understand the product and process needs
  • Creation of a playbook together with the team while we together performed their needed Product Discovery. We did this so that the team could use the playbook after I was gone from the project
  • Using the Holistic Product Discovery Framework as a structure, which was something everyone in the team understood after sufficient training.


  • A way-of-working with ideas and problems of all risk-levels, including high risk discovery in the form of a playbook

Client benefit

The employees learned the mindset very well along the way and could change the playbook when needed on their own.

Read a deeper explanation of this case project here