Product Management Tip – Focus on Problem Validation First and The Solution Second
June 19, 2018
June 19, 2018
When you are working on a product team, it is always critical to remember you are there as a business for one reason and that is to solve a problem that was identified and confirmed that a large enough number of potential users are experiencing that someone felt a business can be formed around it. The founder worked as a product manager to validate the idea and build out the product initially to meet the needs of users and get the minimum viable product off of the ground. This approach to product discovery and product validation for the early stages of launching a product should be modeled by product managers as they work on products to continue to expand out the feature offerings they select to work on.
As you look for what features you should be adding to your product, you should always start back at the basic question which is what problem exists that you are trying to solve before you focus on solutions. Understand from your users what are their pain points that exist and it could be missing features, it could be complicated setup, it could be overall usability are their pain points at this time. You need to be sure as a product manager you are focused on validating the problem that your potential users and current users are experiencing in the space you are serving and ensuring you manage those as your priorities. Once you know the problems, you can meet with your team to define solutions and suggestions on what updates you can implement and break down the problems into solutions that are added to your product roadmap.
Very often, product managers jump into features that should be added based on their knowledge of the product or understanding of the space. The reality is that business environments change on a normal basis and unless you are in it each day, you are further away from the source. Validate with end users the problems they experience in general, with your product and their daily workflow in general and then build features that solve those problems. This approach works into understanding the voice of the customer concept which should be driving a product roadmap. By always focusing on the voice of the customer and the actual problems the customer is facing the features you need to prioritize and the changes that need to occur for your product to grow will become more and more obvious. Always focus on your customers problems and once you fully know the problem, the solutions come second and much easier.