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PM 2030: Product Discovery First Phase Review

Updated: Jul 12

In the previous installment of this series, our intrepid product manager, Isaac, had been tasked with doing product discovery on leadership’s latest “big idea” (a GenAI-powered app providing mental health services). He’s used a software tool called Dagama to perform an initial assessment of the viability of the business model based on what the organization knows today. Via Dagama, he submitted the initial report it generated (including the business model) to key stakeholders for feedback and eventual sign-off indicating that the discovery effort should continue (or not!).

Stakeholder Feedback

Dagama allows people to be assigned to various roles for feedback and approval. People representing executive leadership (the project’s sponsor), Marketing, Sales, and Engineering can ask questions and open “tickets” that must be resolved before the discovery can continue.

Isaac answers questions in discussion threads and addresses tickets. The key actionable feedback is the following:

  • The “funding” criterion in the scorecard should be increased. Leadership is ready to fund this initiative if discovery and the business case indicate that path of action

  • Marketing believes the market is much bigger than that suggested by Dagama. They add the adjusted number and rationale for the different estimates.

  • Sales would like to be more conservative about estimates of average deal size

Each stakeholder flagged as critical in the Dagama system eventually signals that they have provided all of their feedback. They also provide a level of confidence as a percentage that further discovery will result in a viable offering for Mindease. Sign-off of the business model is achieved when:

  • Stakeholders have indicated they’ve provided their feedback

  • No high-priority tickets are open

  • An acceptable level of confidence has been achieved

Depending on the size of the potential risk, level of uncertainty from stakeholders, and other factors, Dagama may schedule a formal interactive review of the business model. In this case, the average level of confidence is over 80%, very high by Mindease's standards. With confidence so high in the first phase of work, Isaac is free to move on to the next step: Planning.

Isaac's progress in Planning will be captured in Dagama and can be accompanied by identified stakeholders. That is one of the many benefits of a central platform to manage product discovery and augment related efforts.

Everything described in this post can be done today using simple tools, including GenAI platforms like ChatGPT. Since using GenAI in the absence of a solid framework is risky or even counterproductive, organizations can start their transition to an "AI-first" approach today by revisiting their practices, making manual improvements, and leveraging stand-alone tools to accelerate efforts and learn what works for them.

In the next installment, Isaac will, with the help of Dagama, plan the discovery effort. This step is often skipped as people "jump into action", sometimes loathe to invest the time it takes to create a plan, assemble the team, and engage with stakeholders. Something tells me the Planning & Preparation phase will be quick and smooth for Isaac.

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