Problem discovery


Our team had a mandate to discover a new problem space and to come out with a roadmap aimed at improving customer experience and reaching company objectives. Our plan was to define the multiple problems to solve, establish the connections between them and prioritise these problems to build a roadmap.


The novelty and complexity of the problem space was the main challenge. Project manager and myself united the efforts and worked together to conduct the problem discovery. We mapped the current user flows, and had discussions with various stakeholders – business and design managers, PMs, designers and tech leads of other teams – to understand the solutions in place and current user problems.


To figure out users problems our first step was to conduct user interviews. We got an incredible response rate from the users which proved the importance of this project. I assisted the PM in creating the interview script, and we reviewed it several times depending on the main topic and the goal of the interviews.
Following the best practices, both of us conducted the interviews, one person leading the discussion and the second taking part in the discussion and taking notes. All interviews were recorded, transcript and tagged in Dovetail.
Another advantage of two people conducting the interviews – debrief sessions. After each interview, PM and myself had an hour debrief session. We mapped the user flows, marked the pain points and workarounds, put down our notes, insights, key quotes, questions not answered, etc. We shared and discussed thoughts and impressions, developing common understanding of user pain points, noticing overlaps and patterns.


All information about the interviews was presented on a Miro board. Using affinity mapping we could identify four main phases of user journeys and define the main problems for each phase. It was important to keep personas in mind, to be precise about who we were formulating the problem for.

It was time for problems prioritisation. Many factors play a role in this process – when a problem occurs in the flow, how it is related to other problems and the whole flow, which persona experiences this problem, how important it is.
Additional user interviews were conducted to get more information about particular problems.

Starting with the problem at the top of prioritisation list, I mapped detailed current journeys with main workarounds merchant used.

These journeys helped me to formulate the How Might We (HMW) statements and after a session with PM we had a well defined and understood Problems to Solve for the next development cycle.


As the result of interview/debrief approach, our Product Manager / Product designer cooperation and valuable feedback from stakeholders during problem discovery phase, in less than three months the first development cycle in a new space was ready to start and we presented a roadmap to the stakeholders and other teams.


I really liked the interview/debrief method we used during this problem discovery. It was efficient, insightful, gave us a very good understanding of the problem space, served as a great tool for communicating with stakeholders and conducting design reviews, and set a good start to problems synthesis and solution exploration.
Here are some interesting articles on the topic:
Nick Babich ” How to Conduct a User Interview….”
Nikki Anderson “Jobs to be Done 101: Your Interviewing Style Primer”
Nikki Anderson “Need to Speed up Synthesis? Enter the Team Debrief”

Due to company policies and confidentiality agreements, I do not share all visual materials for this project. Please explore my Due to company policies and confidentiality agreements, I do not share all visual materials for this project. If you want to know more about the problem discovery approaches or solution design methods and tools, please explore other projects or reach out to me directly.