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Solving Problems or Opening Possibilites
All your product's goals are in one of these categories
In the world of software product management, every product goal boils down to two fundamental options:
1. Solving an existing problem.
2. Enabling possibilities that were previously impossible.
Regardless of the framework or model you adopt—whether it's Jobs to be Done, the Value Proposition Canvas, your OKRs’ objectives, or others—your product’s use cases will consistently fall into one of these two categories. They seek solutions to existing obstacles or crave the power to achieve what was once beyond their reach.
Sometimes, a product can solve several problems or open several possibilities at the same time. Even a combination is possible. But at the end, it’s one of these two categories.
Let's explore these options with some examples:
Facebook? —> Contacting old friends (problem solution) and wasting time / dopamine production (possibility creation)
Tesla? —> Saving CO2 emissions (problem solution)
Peloton? —> Looking good (possibility creation), preventing cardiovascular diseases (problem solution)
Houses? —> Preventing freezing (problem solution), preventing theft (problem solution), self-actualization (possibility creation)
Midjourney? —> Creating images effortlessly without knowledge (possibility creation)
Newsletters? —> Staying informed on a topic (possibility creation)
iPad? —> Having your computer always with you (possibility creation)
Flashlights? —> Seeing in the dark (Problem solution)
The list goes on and on. You can have the most elaborate and useful goal system, but it is always at least one of these two.
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Don’t rely on this alone, continue to work with JTBD or your preferred, detailed system.
In your role as a software product manager, remember that your decisions and strategies should align with these two core principles. Whether you're steering your product toward problem-solving or pioneering innovation, understanding these fundamental directions is key to success in the ever-evolving landscape of software development.
What I read
This is separate section of this newsletter. I will list some of the best articles I read on the internet. They may or may not be related to the topic of this article. I will keep a list of the best articles (currently >700) at https://www.digital-product-management.com. These are today’s picks:
Good Engineering Manager Framework: A Framework to Guide First-Time Managers Taking Their First Steps in the New Role
Delivering a roadmap a few weeks into the PM job: Step by step process to create a solid starting point
Drive change in company meetings: The one option that we know we're not going to leave the room doing is the status quo.