The Best Product Managers Fall in Love With a Problem
I’ve had the chance to work with a variety of product managers across tech giants and startups alike. While there are many critical skills for being a world class product manager, I’ve noticed one pattern amongst the very best: they fall deeply in love with the problem their product is solving.
When you see a product manager fall in love with a problem, you notice the following…
A deep understanding of the target user. Since they obsess about the problem, they take the time to truly understand their product’s target user and their unique needs. You see them constantly mentioning a user that they recently interviewed or regularly referencing the user persona as they are designing product experiences. You find them hungry for feedback, pouring over feedback forums, support tickets, and more in constant pursuit of the voice of the customer.
A relentless search for new & novel solutions. The very best don’t obsess about any one solution. This enables them to constantly seek and evaluate new potential ideas that may go above and beyond what their team has already conceived. The lack of love for the solution is important here, because instead of stubborn pursuit of a given approach, you instead see them regularly re-evaluating whether a novel idea may better solve their user’s pain points.
A contagious passion felt by the entire team. The passion of this product manager is inevitably contagious and instrumental in encouraging the best ideas to flow throughout the team. They are often able to elicit the creativity of their fellow team members far more than others. As well as energize and evangelize a large set of stakeholders, enabling them to be far more effective in realizing their product vision.
So I encourage product managers to focus deeply on the problem your product is solving, and just perhaps you and your team might enjoy the benefits of falling in love with it.
Want to accelerate your product career?
I've finally distilled my 15+ years of product experience into a new course designed to help PMs master their craft. Join us for the Spring '23 cohort of Mastering Product Management.
Are you building a new product?
Learn how to leverage the Deliberate Startup methodology, a modern approach to finding product/market fit. Join us for the Spring '23 cohort of Finding Product/Market Fit.
Enjoyed this essay?
Get my monthly essays on product management & entrepreneurship delivered to your inbox.
Sep 28, 2014