Q&A: what kinds of questions should I be asking in discovery?

Q&A: what kinds of questions should I be asking in discovery?

I was recently asked this question:

During the problem exploration phase, what kind 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
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Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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