How to Find the Right Users to Involve in Product Discovery
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A Precondition for Valuble Discovery
Product discovery is only as valuable as the insights it uncovers. And the value of those insights depends entirely on how they’re put to use – the decisions they influence.
Unsurprisingly, the set of users you choose to involve in product discovery largely pre-determines which decisions those uncovered insights are able to influence.
With the risk of stating the obvious: it’s critical to involve the right users in product discovery.
The "Right Users"
For product teams new to discovery, defining and identifying the right users to involve is challenging. And this is even before you grapple with the realities of recruiting them.
Exactly which users you need to speak with will also change week-over-week, or month-over-month. But even at a snapshot in time it’s a multi-step and iterative process that involves a series of inquiries:
Step 1. What are we trying to learn?
This is the framing of the discovery. What set of questions or assumptions do we need to answer/test?
Step 2. Who might have the insights we seek?
Next we need the set of inclusion criteria that define the right user. The first is usually inclusion in your ICP. Then might come more specific conditions like user or account lifecycle, product usage or known qualitative insights.
Step 3. Can we already identify those users?
The more specific the conditions above, the more likely it is that the answer is “no, we don’t have the data to identify those users”. Places we'll look for this data are likely product analytics, CRM, or research repository. If not, can any of our customer-facing teams help us? Success, support and sales teams are a trove of user/account knowledge, but accessing this knowledge can be challenging and time consuming.
If we can’t identify those users based on the data we have today, we need a way to first address a larger pool of users and screen as part of the recruitment.
Step 4. Can we get them to participate?
It takes two to tango! The number of users you'll need at the end of Step 3 is dependent on your ability to reach them and persuade them to participate. Not enough? You may have to change your recruitment strategy or relax the inclusion criteria.
The truth is that you’ll only really know if they’re the right users once you start to involve them. You’ll likely uncover insights that change your definition of the “right user”, or find that a fact you took for granted was actually an assumption.
And in order to involve them you need to reach out, see how many are willing to participate, and the quality of insights you’re able to uncover. So prepare for this – like all of product discovery – to be an iterative process.
While great product teams have the ability to maniacally focus, sometimes, the “right users” were not the ones you were looking for. They pop up in support tickets, on social media, or in messages from your success team. Balance your time between proactive discovery and reactive discovery.
If your team could use some help finding the "right user", we built Orbital for you!