Thursday, March 09, 2006

How to Solve Problems

In How to Make Meetings Work, Michael Doyle and David Straus detail a process for solving problems in meetings. The process is roughly:

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Define criteria for evaluating potential solutions.
  3. Brainstorm potential solutions.
  4. Apply the evaluation criteria to the potential solutions.
Leaving aside the benefits of iterating on this process, note the parallels to product development.

A product solves problems that prospective customers face. Understanding these problems is the highest priority task of a product manager. Product managers formulate requirements that serve as criteria for evaluating whether the product ultimately solves these problems.

Product designers and implementers apply their creativity and skills to implement the solution, unfettered by requirements that contain design assumptions.

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