To those in the digital product space, the term “Discovery Phase” will likely wash over us like many of the other oft-touted buzz words of our industry. But a healthy discovery process allows us to understand product-market fit and identify key user needs. What’s keeping us from incorporating this valuable learning into our products? We believe it’s either ignorance, intuition, or inertia that stands in the way of successful discovery.
As a community, have we gotten better at product leadership? And if we haven’t, what’s it going to take to get there? The answer to both depends on who we ask and by what yardstick we use to measure our performance. For example, is there alignment between the big organizational vision and our individual product vision? Have we mastered the softer skills to bring together such a diverse group of people? And do our teams know how to think through complex problems and adapt when the ground shifts beneath them?
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul pose these questions to Richard Banfield, VP of Design Transformation at InVision. Richard’s natural curiosity provides some helpful takeaways:
The notion of high performance is not new; powerful examples exist in every industry and sector. Find one that works for you and imitate it.
Effective product people first need to be people people.
Building a practice of high performance requires us to teach our teams how to work together, think together, and decide together.
Full disclosure. Technically speaking, I don’t claim to know anything. Okay, that may not be entirely true. There’s a lot of knowledge I’ve gained through experience. But not much else of what I truly know is (what I would call) organic; most of what I know I’ve learned from others.
For example, I’m not a technologist by training or trade. In the same way my knowledge of automobiles is limited to their operation (but not to their repair), my knowledge of how software product people work their magic is, shall we say, “well contained.” But that doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed how they effortlessly convert user insight and market data into a product vision to make our world a better place. I stand in awe of the designers and developers who translate that vision into problem-solving software products. My brain isn’t wired to work that way, but thank goodness our world is populated with a community of technology artists whose brains are.