The Problem-Solver’s Playbook: Unleashing the Potential of Product Managers

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Aug 28, 2023

3 min read


The Problem-Solver’s Playbook: Unleashing the Potential of Product Managers


In the ever-evolving world of product management, it takes more than just technical skills to excel. To truly stand out, product managers need to sharpen their thinking and adopt a strategic mindset. In this article, we will explore the common points between "The problem-solver's playbook: 17 questions to sharpen your thinking" and "What distinguishes the Top 1% of product managers from the Top 10%? [2022 Edition]". By combining these insights, we aim to provide actionable advice and unique perspectives for product managers to thrive in their roles.

1. Thinking Beyond Problems:

Both articles emphasize the importance of not being fixated on problems alone. Instead, product managers should focus on multiplying value. By shifting the mindset from problem-solving to value creation, they can become more effective problem solvers overall.

2. Assessing Impact:

Understanding the impact of a problem is crucial for prioritization. The first article suggests considering three dimensions: reach, intensity, and user segment. Meanwhile, the second article highlights the need for forecasting and measurement. By assessing the impact of a problem and quantifying its potential benefits, product managers can make informed decisions about resource allocation.

3. Long-Term Vision and Strategy:

Aligning the problem at hand with the company/product's long-term vision is essential. The second article emphasizes the significance of thinking big and identifying disruptive opportunities. This aligns with the idea of not falling in love with solutions but rather focusing on long-term goals. By considering the potential future situation that could make the product irrelevant, product managers can proactively work towards building a deeper moat and staying ahead of the competition.

Actionable Advice:

1. Prioritize with Purpose:

Take the time to deprioritize tasks or projects that do not align with the long-term vision and strategy. Consider the cost of delay or doing nothing, and identify whether the problem requires immediate attention or can be addressed over time. This exercise helps in efficient sequencing of projects and balancing quick wins with platform investments.

2. Communicate Effectively:

Develop the art of communication that goes beyond data. While data is crucial, product managers should tap into biases, beliefs, and triggers that can convince stakeholders to allocate resources. Make a compelling case that is impossible to refute or ignore. Understand what makes each person tick and earn their trust to turn them into allies, not just colleagues.

3. Embrace Adaptability:

Stay agile and adaptable in the face of change. Don't get caught up in unnecessary drama or waste energy on unproductive reactions. Instead, assess the impact of change and adapt accordingly. Maximize your impact for the good of the product and the company, focusing on continuous improvement and learning.


By combining the insights from "The problem-solver's playbook" and "What distinguishes the Top 1% of product managers," product managers can enhance their problem-solving abilities, think strategically, and become more effective in their roles. Prioritizing with purpose, communicating effectively, and embracing adaptability are three actionable pieces of advice that can elevate their performance and drive success. In the fast-paced world of product management, continuously sharpening one's thinking and evolving with the industry's demands is key to staying at the top of the game.

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