One of the core responsibilities of a Product Manager is to define a product’s purpose (product vision) and clearly communicate what that means to the rest of the organization. Defining the full scope of that purpose is typically a lengthy collaborative effort between the Product Manager, internal stakeholders, clients, subject matter experts, developers, etc. There tends to be a lot of ambiguity until this is done. It’s an uncomfortable position for many people, myself included.
I think that’s where we’re at right now as an organization. Our product vision is still a work in progress and as a result I still hear things like, “What are we building? Why are we building it? Is what we’re building valuable to our clients?” I imagine this isn’t a unique situation for many software startups.
From a development perspective, this lack of clarity makes it difficult to solve problems when we don’t understand how or if said problem aligns with our product vision. From a planning perspective, it’s incredibly difficult to make value determinations if there is no clear product vision. Knowing what is and what isn’t worth pursuing is ultimately what we’re trying to figure out.
Are we solving the right problem?
I think the purpose of why we exist is clearer than it has ever been, but we’re still in a position where it’s difficult to explain the full scope of that purpose. Clarity is what we’re struggling with at the moment and it’s something we’re actively looking to refine. I’m fortunate to work with a group of smart, capable, and driven people that care deeply about this issue. I’m confident that we’ll figure it out.
I plan to write some followup posts about this topic to give insight into how we approach solving this problem. For now, this is just me trying to bring clarity to my own thoughts.