mini Product Discovery Workshop with Design Thinking

Product Discovery with Design Thinking

Written by admin

March 3, 2019

I had 4 hours. Only 4 hours for discovering a set of minimum functionalities, the most important ones, that can be used to pitch an idea of a new product.

Not even close to a 2 days Product Discovery Workshop that I’m used to.

My first intention was to say “No“. I don’t like getting into things just because I’m asked, if I’m not sure I can really help. But then I thought better. This is a good opportunity for experimenting and learning, because anything was better than nothing (which is what they had).

First thing I did was set the correct expectations. The aligned deliverable of the 4 hours was a list of the most important functionalities, really high level and not detailed. The objective of my stakeholders was to pitch this idea to top management.

What I did was structure the 4 hours around Design Thinking, half of it at least…


Using 1-2-4-All facilitation technique, it took me around 1.5 hours to discover 6 Personas. Obviously we could not continue with 5 Personas, having 2.5 hours left, so we prioritized them with dot voting and continued with only top 3 personas.

For these, I divided the room into 3 groups, each taking 1 persona. The secret here is to create balanced groups, to have all the skills in the group and at least one person that participated to the creation of the persona in the beginning (if not the persona itself).
Each group had to create an Empathy Map for their persona. I used in the Empathy Map Nickname, Needs, Jobs, Pains. Having so less time, these 4 characteristics were enough.


In Define I entered with 3 Personas, known based on the Empathy Maps that the group created. I kept the groups created before around the Personas and asked them to use the Empathy Map and try to define for their Persona one, two maximum three Objectives that this persona might have, in relation to their product. Time-boxing this (actually every step) works like a charm when you have a big time constrain. People, at the beginning, tend to feel pressured, because they want to be the best. But respecting the time gets them to focusing in being good, rather than best, Just in Time and Just Enough.


Well, this was actually the part that my stakeholders wanted in the beginning. But it’s not like you start a workshop with “we’re here now, let’s innovated on this idea“. You have to build the energy and context before you can actually brainstorm with value.

I initially wanted to focus on User Journeys in reaching their most important Objective, for each of the personas. But observing the room, seeing that the people were really responsible, focused and committed to the workshop, I changed the moment to a “feature storming” from the Personas – Objectives connection.

Worked great and really fast, they created a list of around 12 features for their top 3 personas.


Design Thinking is a great concept of bringing structure in an innovation moment.
This was the moment were I prioritized the Features and created a Canvas for the pitch.

For prioritizing the features, i used relative estimation on 3 dimensions: Desirability, Feasibility, Usability. How much do the users want this feature, how sure are we that we can build it, how much value can that feature bring to us. Then, at the end of the estimation I had a score for all of the Features (Desirability + Usability divided by Feasibility). The top Feature that the team could focus on in the next period was the feature with the highest score (desired by the client, brings value, is feasible to implement).

The Canvas in the end had these blocks: Value Proposition, Personas, Objectives, Features.

That was it, success, I learned a lot, they had a list of Features that they can detail a little bit more in the next days (maybe a Lean Business Case behind) and pitch the idea to top management. I’m waiting for the complete Product Discovery Workshop on this, i’m quite sure the pitch will be a success!

You might also like…

getKanban – Experiential Kanban board game

getKanban – Experiential Kanban board game

Either you want to switch for your current way of working to Kanban, or you want to map some Kanban principles on your current way of working, this game is a great way to find out what fits you the best.

Organizing a process improvement workshop inspired by the Lencioni model

Organizing a process improvement workshop inspired by the Lencioni model

A team asked for a product discovery workshop. After addressing few upfront questions, I realized very fast that their poor and unpredictable velocity is not caused by uncertainty on the product level; it was the foundation that was actually missing – the absence of trust on the team level (Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a team).

The road to Lean HR

The road to Lean HR

One example of Value Stream is “Recruiting for new employees”. The trigger is clear, there is a need for a “Java Developer”. The end of the Value Stream is “java developer available”.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *