📖Notes on: “Continuous Discovery Habits” by Teresa Torres

Torres, Teresa
  • p.27 customer needs, pain points, and desires are opportunities (to intervene in a positive way). Product development is not only about solving problems. Opportunities space = problem space + desires space

  • p.29 Opportunity solution trees. Outcome → Opportunities → Solutions → Assumptions

  • p.34 book recommendation: “Decisive” by Heath (Notes on: “Decisive” by Chip & Dan Heatha)

  • p.34 Avoid “whether or not decisions” (“should we do this or not?”). Instead, “compare and contrast,” explore the solution space

  • p.37 Problem space and the solution space evolve together. You can’t separate the two. (re: “ask why”)

  • p.46 Outcomes:

    • business outcomes: business metrics. Too broad to be assigned to a product team, often require collaboration with other teams

    • product outcomes

    • traction outcomes (how often feature/flow is used)

      • use traction metrics to optimize solution, not to discover solution

  • p.65 To avoid groupthink, start individually and merge your perspectives → To avoid groupthink, start individually and then merge

  • p.67 Draw experience maps, don’t try to describe with words.

    • Drawing is more specific because you can’t draw something unless you know what these specifics are.

  • p.69 Drawing activates other parts of your brain than language. “It helps us see patterns that are hard to detect in words and sentences.”

  • p.79

    Our primary research question in any interview should be: What needs, pain points, and desires matter most to this customer?

  • p.79 Memories about recent instances of activity are more reliable that asking for rationalizations/generalizations, explaining behavior (direct questions) → In product discovery interview, ask customers to share stories

  • p.81 Conversational norm is 50/50 communication. Short question leads to short answer. It is helpful to reset this expectation by telling that you would like to hear the story with all detail, “share as many detail as possible, leave nothing out, and that when they are done, you’ll ask for missing details”

  • p.81 temporal tactics

    • “Start at the beginning. What happened first?”

    • “Where were you? Set the scene for me.”

    • “What happened next?”

    • “What happened before that?”

  • p.82 ask about other characters in the story, about the challenges

  • p.83 Interview snapshot

  • p.92 Interview together as a trio. Otherwise, it’s easy for the interviewer to become “the voice of the customer” and have more authority (e.g., claim customer knowledge that is impossible to counter)

  • p.112 Opportunities should be framed from customer’s perspective (not company’s)

  • p.118 “The build trap” by Melissa Perri

  • p.126 Level 1 vs. Level 2 decisions. One-way vs. two-way. For two-way decisions, we learn faster by just making the decision and seeing the results. (Careful analysis for L2 decisions is counter-productive.)

  • p.135 Brainstorming works worse than individual idea generation but it may seem more effective because it feels easier (“illusion of group productivity”) → Group brainstorming feels more productive because it is cognitively easier

  • p.141 While for opportunities selection / discovery, you only want to include product trio, for solution idea generation, you want to include as many people as possible.

  • p.146 Assumption testing is faster than idea testing

  • p.146 Types of assumptions:

    • desirability assumptions

    • viability assumptions

    • feasibility assumptions

    • usability assumptions

    • ethical assumptions

  • p.155 pre-mortem to uncover assumption (imagine that feature launch went bad — what caused it?)

    • for pre-mortem to be effective, frame it as it did happen (not that it might happen)

  • p.176 product research is not scientific research. we don’t seek truth, we mitigate risk. → Product experiments should not be scientifically rigorous