“Product Manager” or “Problem Manager”?

A comment in one of the Slack channels I follow made me think about the job title we hold, so I decided to write a blog post about it and see what you think.

As Product Managers we are, or at least should be, always striving to find the real pain points that our users have and come up with the best possible solution for their problems. Our goal is to delight our customers and take their painful problems away.

Once we have identified the user’s true pain (problem) through research and hypotheses validation,  and came up with the ‘perfect’ solution with our team of UX designers, engineers and other great experts, we start working on a MVP and launch it to a group of key users experiencing this problem most. When we’ve done a good job, the users will be happy and delighted and we took away their pain.

However, it’s not uncommon that this product we have been working on, turns out to not be the best solution for our users. Maybe our research wasn’t as extensive or thorough, or we didn’t properly validate our problem hypotheses and some assumptions or opinions slid in there, or maybe the market has changed… Which is all fine, because we all make mistakes and learn… but as a result the user’s true painful problem remains unsolved.

So, as a Product Manager we tend to focus on that ultimate solution (product) we have defined and are developing, because we love to think about the product, the features, how ‘cool’ the UI is, and how we can make the product better. Often placing the cart before the horse, as a result. While we should actually be focusing on the root cause of all this effort: the users true pain point. You see, the solution (product) is a layer on top of the problem. And the product might change, but the underlying problem remains the same.

So, why call ourselves “Product Manager” when our main concern is the problem?

I think PM should stand for Problem Manager rather than Product Manager. But what do you think?

Is it time to change our job titles to something that resembles our core responsibility of understanding and removing the pain points of our users, and continue to be known as “Problem Manager” from this day forward? Or should we keep using our current job title of “Product Manager” that focuses solely on the solution part of our responsibilities?

 

 

By |2017-05-31T12:18:22+00:00September 22nd, 2016|News, Product Management|0 Comments

About the Author:

Accomplished and integrity-driven professional with 10 years of experience in international business and product management. Recognized as a digital savvy, hands-on project manager and consultant with strong analytical skills and experience in working in cross-functional teams. I have held several roles in the online industry, the financial industry, and utilities industry with focus on both B2C and B2B markets. Ability to capitalize on strong business acumen and natural leadership talents to steer teams and company in new directions. Always looking for opportunities to continue to strengthen and broaden my product management skill set.

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