“An Introduction to Modern Product Discovery” by Teresa Torres — ProductizedConf
Teresa Torres’ keynote on “An Introduction to Modern Product Discovery Practices” took place on the final day of the Productized Conference 2016. The keynote was designed to explain to the audience some of the changes that have been seen in the last 5 years in the the world of Product Management. Teresa spoke about how to understand the latest trends in the field and additionally how to pick-and-choose these methods to form a coherent strategy that ultimately lead to a better product.
Teresa opened her keynote by explaining the importance of distinguishing between Product Discovery and Product Delivery, many companies often overlook this separation and place a lot of pressure on their Product Delivery, while under-emphasising Product Discovery. Many of the audience were in agreement that the priority nowadays for many companies is to ship delivery quickly, to quote Teresa:
“the goal of a product team is to get it out the door as fast as possible”.
One of the largest practices that she spoke about was the difference in the methods of Product Discovery over the years, namely the move to the Agile Software Development practice in the early 2000’s. Explaining this method, Teresa spoke about how it is a more adaptive method, allowing teams to be more efficient in their work, for example, coding for a couple of weeks, and then showing it and either continuing on their path or adapting and shifting their focus, thus allowing for a more successful product and
“building what [your] business wants” instead of a “flop” (as Microsoft’s “Windows Me” was described).
The rise of Agile Design was also at the same time as UX Design was becoming more prevalent in the field, and aiming to build products that the consumers know how to use. Following the publication of “The Lean Startup” questions arose as to whether or not companies were building products that consumers wanted, not just if they were user-friendly.
As a product coach Teresa has encountered many teams who, while knowing and using tools like “The Lean Startup” and “Jobs To Be Done”, they actually had no idea what Product Discovery was, or when to use these tools. She stated that people were being overly dogmatic in their attitudes towards these tools, and we’re doing ourselves a disservice by not recognising that all of these tools and frameworks come from the same underlying principal, and are ultimately aiming to make our products better.
The key message in Teresa’s talk was how to learn faster whether or not you are building the right product, and that knowledge comes from good Product Discovery. Through the use of The Opportunity Solution Tree, Teresa showed how to make sense of “messy” Product Developments.
In the closing of her keynote, Teresa explained how she coaches her teams to do “continuous product discovery”, testing throughout the product’s journey in order to ensure the creation of a successful product. Don’t base your product decisions on one test, one survey, one result, you need to be constantly getting new data in order to be successful in your endeavour.
Couldn’t attend? Check out the slides to Teresa’s keynote below!