Your Quick Guide to Timeboxed and Continuous Product Discovery

Building new products, bringing them to market, and watching the profound influence they have over users’ lives is one of the most satisfying experiences in business. It’s probably why you’re in this game, as well.

However, too many organizations are using flawed processes of product discovery, meaning suboptimal revenue and disappointed customers.

Effective, continuous product discovery is key to business success. So let’s take a look at how this process should work.

In the following, we’re going to review what activities belong to continuous product discovery and how time-boxed product discovery is different from doing it continuously.

What Is Continuous Product Discovery?

Broadly speaking, continuous product discovery includes a whole range of activities that are directed towards developing a new product. This is a vital tool for companies seeking to meet consumer needs in a real way. So, the process of product discovery will enable an organization

  • to identify solutions to the problems faced by customers,
  • build a product to meet those solutions,
  • find product success by launching something that consumers badly need.

When you’re approaching product discovery for the first time, make sure to ask the following questions. These questions will provide a framework for more detailed processes of continuous product discovery.

Ask these questions before you kickstart the process

  • Who is the customer?
    The process of product development will identify the market segment. Moreover, it also provides an in-depth knowledge of prospective customers.
  • What value does the customer get out of the product?
    A product should function as a solution to a particular problem.
  • How does the product compete with existing, similar solutions?
    A product should stand out from its competitors.
  • How does the product align with business goals?
    Successful organizations don’t just create valuable products. They have a broader business mission. Your main goal with the product may be generating revenue, but it could also be boosting the visibility of your brand in the marketplace.
  • Can your product have wider implications on society and the climate?
    In today’s market, ethical considerations are vital to a product’s influence.
  • What is the business model surrounding the product?
    Production channels, costing and revenue sources play a vital role in product development.
  • What will the user experience (UX) of the product be?
    Exploring and optimizing how people will use the product is crucial to its success.
  • How do you plan on constructing the product?
    Consider all relevant technologies before designing the architecture.
team brainstorming product discovery
Timeboxed product discovery should be applied when you’re innovating and/or bringing a new product to the market

There are two primary forms of product discovery: time-boxed product discovery and continuous product discovery. Agile teams can apply these approaches simultaneously to produce a dynamic system. This way, your business model is always improving.

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Timeboxed Product Discovery

Timeboxed product discovery is a strategy to apply when you’re innovating new products to bring to market or making substantial changes to a product you already have. When it comes to top-level innovations and product redesigns, it’s exceptionally difficult to assess ahead of time how much work this will require. Timeboxing the process will ensure that development doesn’t spiral out of control into a resource-draining process.

A timeboxed product discovery needs the right team. Therefore, you’ll want to involve key stakeholders, representatives from the development team, and a product person. Make sure to bring all the relevant knowledge into the room. A facilitator or agile team leader (also called the scrum master) can then guide the process. His/her role is key since they can ensure that everyone is heard and the best ideas float to the top.

Why limit the time during the product discovery process?

Timeboxed product discovery is a way of avoiding the rabbit hole of innovation and getting lost in the details of a process. Consequently, the primary goals are as follows:

  • Affirming that product strategy and business model are sound,
  • Building a roadmap that’s practical and actionable,
  • Revealing necessary product details,
  • Enabling design concepts to emerge and product architecture to produce prototypes.

The agile coach will facilitate the sessions with these aims in mind. As a result, creativity from developers, the responsibilities of the stakeholder, and the aims of the Product Owner mingle in a time-limited process to provide optimized outcomes.

“For any form of product discovery it’s crucial that you interact with a wide range of sources to inform your experience,” says Robert Perez, a product manager at Writemyx and 1Day2Write. “Don’t assume you have all the facts – speak to potential customers, other organizations and seek expert advice to produce a well-rounded process of product discovery.”

continuous product discovery with the user story map
User story mapping can serve as a tool for continuous product discovery

Continuous Product Discovery

 The outcome of a timeboxed product discovery process will kickstart development and produce a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for your team to market. “Efficient business models bring products to market as soon as they are viable,” says Lee Copeland, a tech writer at OriginWritings. “Wasting hours optimizing products that could be making money simply diminishes revenue.”

However, the MVP is rarely the finished product. This is where continuous product discovery or product rediscovery comes in. It’s a vital process that can wring greater value out of your products. As technologies evolve and markets fluctuate, static products are never optimized for maximum revenue. Businesses succeed when they’re adaptable.

Best practices for continuous product discovery

  • KPIs (key performance indicators) continually assess where you can improve.
  • Innovation should incorporate new technological advancements as well as other external variables. For example, legislation might affect your ability to sell your product or grow the market.
  • Examine competitor products. Remember, competitors, are engaged in the same processes as you. Therefore, keeping an eye on their developments might reveal a gap in your product discovery.
  • Internal changes to your business strategy might mean a rethink of your design processes. What do the developments within your own company mean for the product? For instance, is there a way to cut costs?

Continuous product discovery makes you competitive in the marketplace, constantly discovering new sources of value and greater innovation for your product. This process can be put in place for all products on the market, even those you’re satisfied with.

Learn about product discovery with user story mapping in Jira here.

Learn about product discovery with user story mapping in Azure DevOps here.

Learn about product rediscovery using story mapping.


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The Last Word On Scaled Environments

Lastly, many organizations are using the concept of scaled environments in their business strategy. Product discovery fits into this model effectively, but only if collaboration is established as a fundamental value. Involving everyone across all channels will mean valuable insights are incorporated into product discovery. Switch on the discovery channel to build perfect products for your markets.

About the author: George J. Newton is a business development manager at Write My Thesis and As an innovator and entrepreneur he has been developing products and business strategies for over fifteen years and he has found success in a range of diverse markets. He also writes for

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