When is Product Discovery a waste of time?

Dr Bart Jaworski
3 min readJan 18, 2024

Is it just me or most of the Product Discovery efforts are a waste of time? They’re great in principle but in practice, don’t feel very agile when it comes to predicting what will users like. Let me explain:

Let me just say, I’m not an enemy or hater of Product Discovery. I’m actually a big fan!

When used right and with common sense, discovery will allow you a literally create a very cheap MVP that will allow you to successfully prove (or disprove) your product hypothesis and thus save a lot of development budget.

That being said…

I feel that Discovery can turn into something that becomes a mandatory “process extender” just for the sake of following the Product Discovery trend. Thus, it all starts to resemble walking in circles and second-guessing oneself as a Product Manager for WAY too long.

This is not agile, this isn’t effective.

Maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s motto “Move Fast and Break Things” is taking it it step too far in 2024, but “Released is better than perfect” should be something at the back of your Product head all the time!

So, when is Discovery helpful, and when is it an overkill? Let me give you my personal list, but I hope to hear back from you, dear reader, in the comments if you agree with my points and what would you add to it!

When to invest in Discovery (to name a few):

  • When you have several ways to address a product problem you can quickly organize a larger group of users to pitch in which solution to prioritize.
  • When you want to better understand your users/market (as a process parallel to the actual development pipeline).
  • Also in this parallel pipeline: when you are working to pivot to create new products/verticals
  • When a solution is high risk/high reward you need arguments to convince senior leadership to take a chance.
  • When a discovery process is way shorter than the development process and you can learn early on if the investment is sound.
  • As a vector/type of Product brainstorm

When is Discovery an overkill:

  • When you can quickly build an MVP that can…

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Dr Bart Jaworski

I am a senior Product Manager at Microsoft. My online courses have helped thousands to develop their Product Management careers. I would like to help you too!