My product management toolkit (4) — Problem statements

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

Albert Einstein

Tool 4 — Problem statements

What’s a problem statement? — A problem statement is a simple but great way to concentrate on the key problem(s) to solve, constantly asking the ‘why’ of a specific problem or need. One thing I realised when using problem statements for the first time, is an almost innate tendency to include a potential solution in the statement. I quickly learned — the hard way — that it’s important to refrain from including solutions in your problem statements and to restrict oneself to the user problem instead.

  • Provides focus and frames the problem
  • Inspires your team
  • Informs criteria for evaluating competing ideas
  • Empowers your team to make independent decisions
  • Captures the hearts and minds of people you meet
  • Prevents you from creating concepts that are all things to all people
  • Should be discreet, not broad

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Product at Intercom, author of "My Product Management Toolkit" and “Managing Product = Managing Tension” — see https://bit.ly/3gH2dOD.

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Product at Intercom, author of "My Product Management Toolkit" and “Managing Product = Managing Tension” — see https://bit.ly/3gH2dOD.