"The Power of Expectations and Codifying the Product Discovery Process"

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Apr 09, 2024

3 min read


"The Power of Expectations and Codifying the Product Discovery Process"


Expectations play a significant role in our lives, often overshadowing the actual experiences we encounter. The anticipation of an event triggers a surge of dopamine, creating a mental high that can be difficult to replicate. However, this phenomenon also raises questions about the goals and expectations we set for ourselves in our everyday lives. If even walking on the moon can leave astronauts underwhelmed, what does it say about our earthly aspirations? Moreover, the urge to continue doing things as we have always done them stems from the resistance to being told we have been doing things wrong. But as we delve deeper, we discover that every goal we dream of achieving comes with its own set of overlooked downsides.

Connecting Expectations and Product Discovery:

While expectations may seem unrelated to the process of product discovery, they are intertwined in more ways than we realize. Product development consists of two core elements: discovery and delivery. Discovery involves determining what to build, while delivery encompasses building and shipping the product. However, in many companies, the discovery process is often overlooked or skipped entirely. This oversight occurs because organizations assume that someone, such as a stakeholder, has already conducted the necessary research and move straight to building the product.

The Downfall of Neglecting Discovery:

The neglect of the discovery process can be attributed to certain company cultures that inadvertently discourage product managers from investing time in discovery. Performance evaluations and goals that focus solely on delivery make it an uphill battle for product managers to prioritize discovery. To combat this issue, companies must undergo a mindset shift that places importance on innovation and experimentation. By codifying the discovery process into the organization, product managers can advocate for the necessary time and resources to conduct thorough discovery.

The Four Pillars of Codifying Discovery:

To effectively codify the discovery process, four pillars need to be established: training, templates, touchpoints, and targets. Training product managers on the significance of discovery and providing them with the necessary skills is crucial. Next, implementing templates such as problem briefs and problem definitions can aid in structuring the discovery process. A problem brief outlines the initial thinking around the problem, including symptoms, business requirements, and the external landscape. On the other hand, a problem definition document delves deeper into the problem, addressing its importance, potential impact, and criteria for a solution.

The Importance of Touchpoints and Targets:

Reviewing insights and learnings during touchpoints allows for continuous improvement and ensures product squads are working on the most critical problem areas aligning with the overall strategy. Lastly, embedding the discovery process into the expectations for product managers through performance reviews, progression frameworks, and quarterly goals solidifies its importance within the organization. By upskilling product managers in the discovery process and incorporating it into these areas, companies can foster a culture of innovation and improvement.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the Power of Anticipation: Recognize that the anticipation of an event often brings more mental satisfaction than the event itself. Develop a healthy balance between setting goals and enjoying the journey towards achieving them.
  • 2. Prioritize Discovery: Encourage the discovery process within your organization by creating a supportive environment that values innovation and experimentation. Provide product managers with the necessary training and resources to excel in the discovery phase.
  • 3. Codify the Process: Implement templates such as problem briefs and problem definitions to structure the discovery process. Regularly review insights and learnings during touchpoints to ensure alignment with overall company goals.


Expectations have a profound impact on our lives, often overshadowing the experiences we encounter. By understanding the power of anticipation and the pitfalls of neglecting the discovery process, we can reshape our goals and expectations to achieve greater satisfaction. Codifying the product discovery process through training, templates, touchpoints, and targets is essential for fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. By implementing these actionable strategies, we can unlock the true potential of our goals and pave the way for success.

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