Discovering The Problem Is The Solution

While developing a product, teams usually fall into the same trap of valuing the solution more than discovering the problem. It is easy to get caught up in attempting to develop the most trendy and sophisticated end-product rather than addressing the user’s needs. When we don’t spend enough time internalizing the problem, the obvious solution eludes us.

The process of problem discovery is different each time. Your business model and product change the way you approach the problem and thus develops mixed customer segments. Your challenge here is to satisfy all with one solution. Let’s scrutinize an example by taking two extreme edges of tech customer profiles:

Customer A: “Easy to use, no need for education, interaction with support relatively easy through online channels.” 

Customer B: “Product too complicated to use. I would like to have a simpler interface.”

These customers are supposedly using the same product. So who did you think you were satisfying? A, B or both? Let’s find out!


The Journey To Discovery


There is a simple method to help you understand the expectations of a customer. It is called the “Switch Matrix” and it allows you to look into the previous solution of your customers.


What were your customers using before you? Why were they not satisfied with that solution any more? Where did they search for alternatives? Which ones did they consider? Why did they end up with you? If any, what concerns did they have about your product?



If we apply it to a software product; a switch matrix would generally look like this:

Old solution Why switch to your solution Their concerns during transition
Other Software  

• Developer needed

• Education needed

• Non-sustainable online access

• More features in the old software

• What happens to my data gathered so far?


• Missing features

• Room for mistakes

• Non-sustainable online access


• Being used to a certain system

• What happens to my data gathered so far?

• paid online access

Physical Documentation  

• Not reliable, can get lost

• Cannot perform specific actions

• Non-sustainable online access  


• Is the learning curve high?

• Is configuration necessary?

• paid online access


Now, we can see what initial expectations people had when transitioning to our solution. At first it seems as if we aimed all over the place with our targeting, but you can see that the only difference is the different expectations of the customers. Different paths from different walks of life.

You now know the expectations of these different customers that must be addressed in your offering.


The Discovery


Discovering the journey that brought your customers to you is only possible if you talk to them. Whether it is a survey, an actual conversation or email correspondence, offer them an incentive to give you feedback. Unfortunately, decades of unhealthy customer services left us begging for information and people hating questions, so be clever!


Knowing what customers had to adapt to during transition will help you address their needs better. Try to see how you can ease the transition from another product to yours.

Using such information, you could form a welcoming suit that will allow different profiles to find what they need. Coverage and flexibility is the answer.


There are innovative minds that will say “this method doesn’t fit me. My solution is so new, you cannot compare it to anything else.” But is the problem new? I would like to think you wouldn’t develop a solution without an existing problem. Two fundamentally different concepts could answer the same question. Stay tuned for our next blog post ‘How To Perfect Your Market Research’ for more information on finding the right customers!



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