People in office meeting

Deciding to leave a burning building is easy. You’ve identified the key facts and you’ve prioritized them, so you leave immediately. You can stand around and think about fire prevention later.

When you start Discovery to kick off the creation of a digital product to delight your brand’s users, it’s tempting to learn everything possible. But the point of diminishing returns can sneak up on you and soon you’re not learning anything useful. You’re burning up time that could have gone to testing a live product with an actual audience. Time, money, and other constraints also drive the need to deliver, so you just don’t have time to look under every rock you find.

The key to executing Discovery well is elevating progress over perfection, finding enough answers to make deliberate, strategic decisions that inform your initial product experience, then acting on them.

We see this as we help our customers develop products, and here’s what we’ve learned about driving decisions, direction, and action.

Discovery is not optional.

It can reveal holes you didn’t know that you had. In one case, a customer hired us to build a buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) tool. Discovery revealed that they had skipped UX research. It took a little longer, but we developed a superior product.

Align on what triggers the end of Discovery.

Discovery means accepting the fact that you won’t answer every question that arises. Use scoping to identify what triggers the end of Discovery. Start building as soon as you trip those triggers, then refine your work as you go.

Use Discovery to drive decisions.

Discovery yields insights. Once you reach the agreed-upon trigger that ends Discovery, start turning those insights into action—draft service design blueprints, document user flows, and begin laying out a prototype. Start on a whiteboard, work quickly, and iterate.

Map the happy path first.

Some customers hire us after they’ve spent months trying to solve for everything that might go wrong. Discovery reveals that they haven’t yet identified what right looks like. The process of getting your entire team aligned behind one definition of success can do a lot to focus them before they move forward.

Actions speak louder than words.

It’s easy to see formal research as the best (or only) way to understand users. But few people will ever research the exact issues that your brand faces, and their findings can go out of date quickly. Instead, create your own product, let people use it, gather your own data on what your actual users want.

In a perfect world, you’d move through Discovery, then build a minimum viable product based on what you learned. Then you’d stand up a digital twin of your audience to test ideas, listen to their feedback, and refine your responses. Then Discovery becomes constant activity driven by AI-enabled analysis of your data.

Now that speed to market matters more every day, the idea that a good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed later has never been more relevant. At Revel, we’ll get your product development moving toward optimization quickly.

Want to know more? Reach out and let’s chat.

About the Author

Eric Powlesson

Eric Powlesson is Director, Brand & Customer Experience Strategy at Revel. He has over 12 years of experience as a producer, account planner, and strategist.