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Work on Problems You Deeply Care About

by kirupa   |   filed under Product Management and Beyond

A prerequisite to being effective as a Product Manager (or Engineer, Designer, etc.) is to work on something that solves a problem that you personally care about. Doing so makes your job as a PM much easier...and results in a better product!

You can talk to a bunch of customers, read through countless pages of user feedback, analyze tons of research studies, and perform detailed competitive analysis, but the thing is—all of that is just data. It is up to you to take all that data and form insights that define how you evolve your product and solve the most significant problems your users are highlighting.

How do you build those insights? How do you empathize with your users? You should feel the pain they feel when they are performing a task that your product can do better at. You should also feel the joy when your product does something correctly. The best way to do that is if you can personally relate to the problem your product is solving. Understanding the problems without actually feeling the effects of those problems personally is the equivalent of reading books or watching videos about swimming without ever actually stepping into the water. The difference is night and day:

As a PM, a large part of your job is to take people’s pain points, put into the context of what your organization or company is trying to solve at large, and deliver something that people ultimately love. There are no clear-cut paths to do that. The best insights come from the accidental discoveries that you have a higher chance of running into only if you are personally invested in the problem space.

Conclusion

This guidance often goes hand-in-hand with you using your own product. It's often hard to use a product that you can't relate to, and this is often the first sign that you may be working on something that solves problems that you don't care about. Before you go, this content lives in a bunch of places beyond YouTube. You can interact with this content on Twitter / X, LinkedIn, or TikTok if you want to share it with your networks there...which I would totally appreciate!

Just a final word before we wrap up. If you have a question and/or want to be part of a friendly, collaborative community of over 220k other developers like yourself, post on the forums for a quick response!

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