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A Product Manager, the Ideas & User Needs

A brief article on the product manager's introduction is written here if you are curious to know who they are and what they do. In this article, I have done minor research on the ideas, their generation, and user needs & problems from the product manager's point of view.

It is quite ironic to note that the Product manager is not the idea guy in the company and generally doesn't generate any ideas.

So it can be concluded that a product was a need in someone's mind which eventually become an idea for a product.

one idea can change your life

Hence, The role of a product manager involves collecting input from various sources and making decisions on what should be developed when taking into consideration the internal dynamics of the company as well as the market conditions. By gathering ideas and evaluating the current landscape, the product manager determines the appropriate course of action for building and launching products.

Where do the Ideas come from?

Any company, at any time, has a long list of ideas that need to be considered and developed. But where do these new ideas come from?

From a PM perspective, ideas generally come from 4 main places;

  • Employees: The co-workers, management, and by self

  • Metrics: Analyzing user interactions with your product can reveal problems and inefficiencies, offering valuable insights for enhancing user experience.

  • Users: Their feedback from forums, emails, social media, etc

  • Clients: Applies to B2B product managers

From the type of product manager, ideas can come from different sources;

  • For internal PM - Mostly from stakeholders

  • For Business to Consumer PM - From Users, Metrics & Co-workers

  • For Business to Business PM - From Employees & Clients

Uncovering the Real User Needs

As a product manager, it's essential to approach the list of ideas with careful consideration and discern the underlying problems behind user requests before embarking on development.

The power of why

For example, suppose users are requesting a chat feature within a mobile banking app. The immediate response might be to fulfill their request and add the chat functionality. However, as a product manager, it's important to dig deeper and ask "Why?" multiple times. Through this process, you might uncover that the actual core problem users are facing is the lack of clarity in transaction histories. By addressing this root issue and providing clearer transaction details within the app, you can enhance user experience and solve genuine problems.

Being a PM is all about finding a solution to a problem, instead of trying to fit the problem into a solution. Always ask;

  • Is this problem an actual problem?

  • Can this have any unintended side effects?

By repeatedly asking "Why?" at least three times, you can unveil the true pain point and develop effective solutions as a product manager.

Attached is a very detailed and effective article on "A Practical Guide to User Needs" to enhance your understanding.

The Difference - Users Vs Customers

It should be noted that sometimes the people who pay for your product - Customers Are not the same people that use it - Users.

The difference between users and customers can have a significant impact on the feedback received by a product manager.

Let's consider an example to illustrate this distinction. Suppose you're working on a project management software. The customers, who are typically the managers or decision-makers of a company, provide feedback primarily based on the general features they require to support their business needs. They might emphasize functionalities like task assignment, project tracking, and reporting capabilities.

On the other hand, the users, who are the individuals actively using the software on a daily basis, offer feedback primarily related to technical issues they encounter during its usage. They might highlight usability challenges, interface difficulties, or specific bugs that affect their productivity.

In search of someone

As a product manager, it's crucial to gather feedback from both categories to strike a balance between meeting the needs of the customers and providing a seamless experience for the users. By considering the perspectives of both groups, you can make informed decisions to improve the product and ensure it caters to the requirements of both customers and users effectively.

Hot Topic - "Context Design"

How to anticipate users' needs before they're needed.

A contextual design understands the full story around a human experience, in order to bring user's exactly what they want, with minimal interaction.

Building Blocks of Context Design:-

Let's explore an example to illustrate these different contexts - for a mobile fitness tracking app.

User Context

Understanding the user context involves considering individual preferences, interests, and behaviors.

For instance, some users may prefer running outdoors while others prefer indoor workouts. Some may own a digital watch, install fitness-related apps, and actively engage on social networks to share their progress.

Additionally, their current state of mind, such as feeling motivated, tired, or energetic, as well as their habits and physical activity levels, are crucial aspects to consider.

Task tracker mobile application

Environmental Context

This context involves considering factors surrounding the user, such as the time, day, and location.

For example, the app may provide tailored recommendations based on the user's current location, such as suggesting nearby running trails or gyms. It may also adapt its interface based on the type of place the user is in, whether it's their home, workplace, or a public space like a train station. Additionally, the app may leverage other networks or devices the user is connected to, like heart rate monitors or smartwatches.

World Context

The world context focuses on external events and factors that impact the user. This could include sports events, news updates, weather conditions, flight delays, traffic congestion, or popular TV shows.

By considering these factors, the app can provide relevant information or adapt its features accordingly. For example, it may suggest indoor workouts during bad weather or provide insights into trending fitness challenges on social media.

By taking into account the user, environmental, and world contexts, a product manager can design an app that caters to users' specific needs, enhances their overall experience, and delivers personalized and timely features and recommendations with minimal interactions.

The End



Image 2: 77 Human Needs System, Unsplash

Image 3: In Search of By Lena Polishko from Unsplash

Image 4: Tracker app By Georgia de Lotz from Unsplash



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