Product Practice Newsletter

🛠️ Don't turn Continuous Discovery into Dogmatic Discovery

Published 2 months ago • 3 min read

Don't turn Continuous Discovery into Dogmatic Discovery




Apr 5, 2024


2 min & 41 sec

​Dear Reader,​

When I recently talked to Vivek Kumar for my work-in-progress book, this insight stood out: "The biggest moat you can always have is how fast you can learn." And a recurring theme in a recent Product Discovery workshop was to hold every decision in Product Discovery against "whether it helps reduce lead-time to actionable insights (aka lead-time until we reduce uncertainty).

One of the main reasons I see product teams neglect the importance of that lead time is that they stick to a rigid order of activities at all costs. They get stuck in dogmatic Product Discovery.

As your teams become more comfortable with deliberate Product Discovery and learn better practices, they may adopt a rigid, Dogmatic adherence to different “rules” of discovery. This represents a significant step forward from Alibi Discovery because it means teams are actively thinking about and incorporating systematized Product Discovery, but it comes with downsides.

Characteristics of this state:

  • Teams religiously adopt arbitrary cadences (e.g., the number of interviews or the number of A/B tests) without questioning the validity of their context.
  • Teams tend to document every tip, guide, or how-to on the market to maximize their use of preexisting frameworks, canvases, and templates.
  • Organizations chase the one carefully designed process that can be rolled out and monitored across all teams.

Clear signs you have to move on:

Teams feel that the discovery process and act get in their way of creating value. Completing a Discovery task gets more priority than the quality of insights generated and decisions made, and the seemingly irrational volume of work raises questions.


  • Modify your Frameworks. Review your Discovery frameworks. Which of these feel clunky, and how can you bend them to fit your ways of working?
  • How would you reduce uncertainty if you only had one week? Your answer helps you see the Discovery activity with the highest leverage. Why aren't you doing it?
  • Measure your lead time to reduce uncertainty. How long does it take your (or any other) team to get from an articulated assumption to the first reliable data point? What has to change so this time gets continuously easier to shorten?

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Thank you for Practicing Product,


How to Dive Deeper into Product Discovery

Learn how I helped companies like Deutsche Telekom and Forto hone their Product Discovery practices. I closely work with product organizations through workshops and coaching to introduce and adapt Product Discovery.

Content I found Practical This Week

Please, Please Don’t A/B Test That

Decision Velocity & Drag

Opposing high decision velocity is decision drag. Decision drag comes in all shapes and sizes, but the most common things I observe in the companies I advise are: High WIP (Work-in-Progress)/Utilisation, The Optimisation Problem Trap, Perfectionism, Treating two-way-door decisions as one-way.

I Don’t Have Time for Product Discovery

Usually, engineering leaders dictate the need for longer planning cycles. So any changes to planning processes will need engineering buy-in. Assemble a representative, cross-functional team and address the pros and cons of long term planning. Make sure to include the hands-on keyboard engineers and architects who make estimates on long-term projects. Find out what is working and what isn’t working with the current planning process. You may need to meet with individuals one on one if they are not comfortable discussing negative feedback in a group setting. Try to reframe the discussion around what’s important to the business not just what’s important to engineering.

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Who is Tim Herbig?

As a Product Management Coach, I guide Product Teams to measure the progress of their evidence-informed decisions.

I identify and share the patterns among better practices to connect the dots of Product Strategy, Product OKRs, and Product Discovery.

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