What kinds of questions should I be asking in discovery?

What kinds of questions should I be asking in discovery?

I was recently asked this question:

During the problem exploration phase, what kinds of questions should I be asking and how do I go from 1000 problems to the core problems that will unlock the solution?

Read on for my answer:

Hi there,

Steve Blank has some great tips on the kinds of questions you should be asking – here’s a handy set of bite-size videos he’s done.

In the course of discovery, it will start to become apparent which are the most pressing problems for the majority of people, and which are problems for specific groups of people.

Depending on your more general goals – are you going for quick wins? or do you need to focus on a particular set of users or persona? or are you trying to solve a single problem everyone shares? – you may choose to prioritise different things. If you have no particular criteria, go for the simplest problem to solve that also helps the largest group of users.

Once you’ve decided what will be worthwhile, the important thing is to get started on trying to solve that problem. Remember that you continue to learn even more about the problem as you work on solving it. Don’t be afraid to try different things – you’re not very likely to be 100% correct first time.

All the best,


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The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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