Instagram Product Lead on Product Lifecycle Impact (Part 2)
Generally, we look at product management as a function that creates solutions for issues or problems. In other words, we tend to look at the end of the product lifecycle as the primary responsibility for most PMs. However, I would counter that notion and say that we actually own the problem. Simply put, we can’t just own the finished product. Instead, we have to be experts at identifying problems for your customers and business partners.
This view of product management comes from a specific methodology about how we work best. Ultimately, if you can articulate problems, the solutions will be obvious. Clearly, we need to deliver on expectations by creating optimal finished products. That said, the best way to create a game-changing solution is to become adept at owning problems.
In my experience, the team dynamics that guide product management are essential for operating at a high level. In other words, collaboration and building trust are ultimately responsible for producing great products. Most importantly, your team will enable problems to crystalize in ways that you don’t expect. As a result, your product lifecycle kicks off with problem-driven inputs that will ultimately lead to effective product solutions.
Clearly, product management serves as a cross-functional role when it comes to developing new solutions.
However, before you can even get to that point – we need to be experts at solving problems. Similarly, another core responsibility for PM teams is prioritization for new features or projects. That said, the number one priority for leading PM teams effectively needs to be identifying problems. Simply put, your product lifecycle will not yield the best possible solution unless you’re grounded in solving a specific issue.
Ultimately, the key to owning problems goes beyond simply stating them. Instead, you have to clearly articulate why the problem exists and why it matters. From there, you’re able to easily make the case for the solution that you’re looking to build. In the end, the product lifecycle always starts at square one – which is always the problem at hand rather than the solution.
About the speaker
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.