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The Double diamond

Credit to Balázs Szalontai – UX Designer

Product discovery is the phase during which “the focus is on building the right thing and not building the thing right (delivery phase)

Source: Product Discovery – A practical Guide for product Teams (2020) – Tim Herbig 


double diamond by nn/g

Reading recommendations:


Step 1 : Understand

What is our challenge?
  • Kick-off
  • Frame the problem/idea/opportunity
  • Hypothesis
  • Define metrics (How do we measure it? How do we know we are right?)
  • Related stories
  • User story
  • Stakeholders (map)
  • Questions for risk mitigation: Feasibility / Viability / Desirability / Usability
  • Assumptions
  • Decisions (what we are focusing on and what we are not focusing on)
  • Related items, documents, artefacts
  • Action items (define next steps > diverge in Discover)

Risk Mitigation

When we balance desirability, feasibility, and viability, we increase the value of our solutions.

  • Desirability: Do they want this?
    • Will this solution fill a need of our users?
    • Is there a demand & interest for the initiative/idea out there
    • Is the initiative/idea really solving the problem? Better than others?
  • Feasibility: Can we do this?
    • Can the organisation actually make it happen?
    • Do we actually know how to build this?
    • Do we have the skills on the team to build it?
    • Do we have enough time to build it?
    • Do we need any architectural changes to build it?
    • Do we understand the dependencies involved in building this?
    • Will the performance be acceptable?
    • Will it scale to the levels we need?
    • Can we measure it?


  • Viability: Should we do this?
    • Are there any legal constraints
    • Are we willing to invest?
    • Are there any regulations we need to consider?
    • Any privacy or security constraints?
    • Do we have to consider anything from a sales/marketing perspective?
  • Usability: Can they use it?
    • Can users figure out how to use it?


What decisions, assumptions, learnings and action items have we made through this discovery process?

Problem statement

Write down all of the potential problems that the user has.

  • What is the problem that this product is going to solve?
  • What is the motivation behind what the user wants?


  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • What are their motivations to launch this product/feature?
  • What are their underlying needs and objectives?
  • What are their biggest frustrations with the current state/solution?
  • What is for them a synonym of success? How will they measure it?



  • What are our assumptions?
  • How do we validate or invalidate them?
  • How do we know they are validated?



  • What do we know from previous research or activities?
  • What do we have for quantitative and qualitative data?
  • How can we leverage it?


Action Items

  • What do we do next? 
  • Who does what and by when?


Step 2: Discover (Analysis)


Research phase — Diverging <

What do we know today? What do we need to find out? How does it work today?

  • Gather insights from
    • expert reviews
    • user research
    • usability studies
    • existing problems
    • previous iterations & explorations (ideas, sketches, wireframes, prototypes, etc.)


  • Identify users & the context of use
    • main goals
    • tasks
    • environment
    • equipment


  • Analyse & cluster pain points
  • Conduct competitor analysis


  • Map it out
    • what’s the flow / structure of the problem space
    • as-is scenarios, task model
    • user story map (as-is)


Step 3: Define (Specify)


Synthesis phase — Converging >

  • what problems did we encounter?
  • what patterns do you see emerging?


  • Themes, clusters
  • Opportunities (ideas)
    • Opportunity Solution Tree
    • Capture the multiple possible solutions for this topic. Risks must be taken into consideration in order to help better decide which potential solution can work and should be taken forward


  • Define HMW questions
    • Outcome based, not output
      • HMW make the checkout form shorter >>> solution oriented, predefined output
      • HMW make returning users complete their purchase faster >>> describes an Outcome and opens up the solution space to encourage true ideation. It also creates much more context about the challenge by incorporating whose behaviour you want to change and in which way


  • Scenarios and use cases
  • User journeys / service blueprints
  • Prioritise (opportunities, topics, requirements) against the risks
  • Information architecture
    • content structure and grouping (classification & hierarchy)
      • organisational structures
        • hierarchical
        • sequential
        • matrix
    • content label
    • navigational structure & wayfinding
    • interaction model

Step 4: Develop (Produce)


Ideation phase — Diverging <

  • Sketches
  • Potential solutions
  • Develop Hypothesises / Experiments
  • Scenario mapping
  • User test flow
  • Storyboard
  • User story map (to be)
    • value & metric


Step 5: Deliver (Evaluate)

Implementation phase — Converging >

  • Wireframes
  • Prototypes
  • Usability test sessions
  • Evaluate
    • Heuristics
    • Design critique
    • Expert review
  • Design solution
    • 5 layers of UI
    • content
    • edge cases
  • Implementation
    • Build, release

Step 6: Measure  (Iterate)

  • Based on the defined metric
  • Monitor and analyse analytics
  • Qualitative research



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