An Introduction to Product Management: Discovery and Definition
Introducing a mobile app to the market is an iterative process. The most successful mobile app development projects use the process to validate assumptions about the product with user behavior analysis. Often, a prototype isn’t enough to validate the product and achieve internal buy-in. An iterative process is highly beneficial for continuously meeting the needs of your users and maintaining engagement.
But how do you know what to build for your users exactly? How will you solve their pain points and exceed their expectations far beyond what your competition offers? The answer lies in mobile app product discovery and definition.
Mobile App Product Discovery
Your team needs a thorough understanding of what is feasible to build within the scope of your mobile app. Product discovery helps you prepare project goals and understand the business outcomes your mobile app will accomplish. It is the process of determining what the problem is, how to solve it, and how to measure progress.
During product discovery, you collaborate with a Product Owner, a UX/UI Designer, an Internal Project Manager, and an Account Executive to combine a variety of different skills and expertise. The goal is to build the best product possible, and with several experts, you’ll be able to better understand what is feasible and what is unrealistic for development.
At Clearbridge Mobile, we involve you in product discovery from start to finish. Collaborating with you in the first stages of your project helps us implement your vision and strategy to solve your current business challenges. It’s important to get every key stakeholder to generate ideas, rank them, and collectively decide on the best features to meet the product goal. We employ a concentrated design thinking process where we make every product decision with the end user in mind.
At the end of our one-week discovery, you will have defined your product and captured:
- Key product features
- User Journeys
- A clickable prototype
This process will provide a straightforward concept and plan for your product, which acknowledges the entire scope of your project.
Why is Mobile App Product Discovery Important?
Before you choose a development partner, you need to perform enough research to understand what you’re building, how long it will take, as well as what you can afford. You must include all of this information in your mobile app Request for Proposal (RFP). More often than not, companies don’t engage with potential vendors before they write their RFP and their final proposal lacks detail and misinterprets product requirements overall.
Participating in product discovery gives you all the information you need to put together an in-depth RFP. With the deliverables you receive from product discovery, you can communicate the vision of your product with as much detail as possible and avoid miscommunication down the line. Combining the product discovery process with the RFP process allows you to work with potential partners and map out your goals and expectations collaboratively. To fully understand your project’s scope, budget, and technical requirements, it’s recommended to invest in mobile app product discovery before you write your mobile app RFP.
Mobile App Product Definition
After product discovery, your team will have the following outputs:
- Product Features: A list of all the features the product will include.
- Prioritization: Mobile App product discovery will establish your product goals and deliver a set of potential features, but more importantly these features will be prioritized. The product definition process will help you answer the question: what is the number one functionality and value my product offers to its users? Answering this important question will help you deliver value quickly and manage scope creep.
- Product Roadmap: After you have established your product’s priorities, it’s essential to create a product roadmap to align with your business goals. A product roadmap is used to communicate the strategic direction and progress of the project to the entire team. Your product roadmap needs to accommodate change. It should be continuously updated and referenced throughout the project’s lifecycle to determine which priorities should be worked on and when.
Epics and Stories
Epics and Stories help organize development into segments of features or problems to solve in the product. In agile development, an epic is a problem you’re solving on a larger scale of work and can contain many stories which are broken down into how you’re solving a particular problem. A story allows the development team to deliver a particular value to the customer. As the team learns more about an epic through development or customer feedback, add or remove user stories to optimize the efficiency of the project. The roadmap coordinates the direction to take to achieve the project’s goals with as little miscommunication as possible.
Manage Scope Creep with Product Definition
Product definition is notably valuable for managing scope creep, which is when a project grows far beyond its original size. If you haven’t properly defined the product, scope creep will likely occur, often deviating from the initial agreement of the product. Scope creep occurs when team members change their mind and suggest features that are irrelevant to the overall project goal. Changes during product development are likely to happen; however, it’s easy to let scope creep take control of your original vision and strategy. Once you establish product definition, the team must carefully consider changes in the plan if they arise. Product definition ensures that the project remains focused on the goal, saving money and time.
At Clearbridge Mobile, product discovery and definition is an intensive onboarding and project kickoff process. By the end of one week, we package and deliver your product artifacts which include feature documentation, user journeys, wireframes, mockups, and a clickable prototype. Essentially, product discovery and definition will establish the framework necessary to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and go to market quickly.