Instagram Product Lead on Product Lifecycle Impact (Part 3)

When thinking about the product lifecycle, it’s important to start building from a known problem. Too often, product managers try to come up with the solution first. Said differently, you need to identify a specific activity or situation that provides an opportunity for products to fill a need.

If you work at a larger company, you access to product data to guide you toward new problems. For example, you have direct insight into how customers are using the product. As a result, you can see what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement. Conversely, if you’re at a startup or smaller organization – you’re building from scratch and need to rely on market research to provide these insights.

Within each of these environments, the same question applies – how do you identify the problem?

In my experience, the best way to find problems worth solving is the “jobs to be done” framework. This approach combines product data and user experience research to develop a clear understanding of opportunities for improvement. As a result, you’re able to get a clear picture of how people interact with your product. Most importantly, you’re able to see if features are being used as intended or if users are taking a different path.

Simply put, it’s a “Madlib” to kick off your product lifecycle in answering some fundamental questions. For example:

“When I’m BLANK, help me BLANK so I can BLANK.”

As you can see, you have to think about many inputs in order to holistically think about a problem. As a result, the challenge becomes thinking about all the external factors that ultimately anchor back to the problem. For example, let’s say your problem is “I can’t share social media content with my friends and family.”

Before you go further, you have to realize that this problem isn’t being thought about all the time. Ultimately, you have to understand the catalyst or input that causes people to seek out a solution for a given problem. In the end, optimizing your product lifecycle to address problems at this level of detail will make your solution that much more compelling.


Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

About the speaker
Alex Plutzer Instagram, Product Lead Member

Alex Plutzer is a Product Leader at Instagram - focusing on the app's business messaging platform. Prior to joining Instagram, Alex worked in product roles at Facebook focused on payment and events. In addition, Alex held several product roles at Box - and also worked for a number of tech companies while at college in St. Louis. Alex holds a degree from Washington University and currently lives in San Francisco.