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Continuous Discovery – Hurdles

Hurdles to Continuous Discovery

Business outcome focused teams

The idea that you can get a team organized around business outcomes itself is a huge hurdle. That means that business and tech team members work together everyday! Besides a few uber progressive startups, few companies can even comprehend the idea let alone implement it.

Experimentation and Real Users

The second big mindset change that traditional companies have to make it to put experimental products / ideas in the hands of real users. This is a problem especially for established organizations who care about their brand image as well as worry about competitors getting to know their strategy. These fears are not completely unfounded but they are also not intractable.

Discomfort in Ambiguity

Most tech teams dread ambiguity. Volatile & Incomplete requirements are huge risks in our plans. Most tech teams and especially their managers would give a limb to get all their requirements clarified so that they can deliver as per plan. Continuous Discovery forces the team to “not know” what they are going to build beyond a couple of weeks and that makes most teams very uncomfortable!

Accepting what the experiments tell you

Even if a team, against all odds, manages to implement continuous discovery, is it (and more importantly, are the bosses) able and willing to accept the findings of the experiments. When the CMO’s favorite feature gets negative feedback from early users, is she able to let go?

If the team and the organization is not mature enough to accept what the data shows, all the efforts of overcoming all these other hurdles will be for nought.

Continuous Discovery in a consulting organization?

A product organization might be able to make the necessary changes and really implement continuous discovery in a team. For a consulting firm, they’d have to convince their clients to take this leap of faith. It is also very tricky to figure out an engagement model that is based on ambiguity. That makes it even more difficult to try.

What other hurdles do you envision if you had to implement this in your team?

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