The Problem-Solver's Playbook: Unveiling the Secrets of Product Strategy

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Nov 25, 2023

5 min read


The Problem-Solver's Playbook: Unveiling the Secrets of Product Strategy


In the world of problem-solving, it's crucial to avoid falling in love with the problem or the solution. By shifting our focus towards multiplying value rather than just solving problems, we can become better problem solvers. In this article, we will explore the intersection of problem-solving and product strategy, uncovering 17 key questions that can sharpen your thinking and enhance your ability to deliver impactful solutions.

  • 1. Is this problem merely a symptom of a bigger problem?

When faced with a problem, it's important to dig deeper and determine if it is a symptom of a larger underlying issue. By addressing the root cause rather than just solving the visible symptom, you can create more sustainable and effective solutions.

  • 2. How impactful is this problem for the customers?

Assessing the impact of a problem requires considering three dimensions: reach, intensity, and user segment. Understanding the number of customers affected, the depth of their pain, and the specific user segment impacted can help prioritize which problems to tackle first.

  • 3. Does it align with the company/product's long-term vision and strategy?

As the essence of strategy lies in choosing what not to do, it is crucial to evaluate whether solving a particular problem aligns with the long-term vision and strategy of the company or product. This ensures that efforts are directed towards the most relevant and value-adding initiatives.

  • 4. What do you need to deprioritize to work on this?

Considering the cost of delay or the cost of doing nothing can provide valuable insights. Some problems require immediate attention, akin to extinguishing a fire, while others may worsen gradually, like a leaking roof. Understanding the urgency of a problem helps allocate resources effectively.

  • 5. What happens if you do nothing?

Senior product managers are adept at identifying and scoping opportunities for exponential improvement rather than incremental gains. By envisioning the consequences of inaction, you can better understand the potential for growth and innovation.

  • 6. What is the customer's job-to-be-done?

Adopting the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework broadens our perspective beyond product usability. Customers utilize products as a means to achieve specific goals or outcomes. Understanding their underlying motivations enables us to create solutions that truly meet their needs.

  • 7. How can I build a deeper moat for my product?

Creating a deeper moat around your product helps establish a competitive advantage. Network effects, where increased usage enhances the value for each individual user, are a popular strategy. By fostering an ecosystem that encourages growth and collaboration, you can fortify your product's position in the market.

  • 8. If a new hotshot founder disrupts my industry, what will they say about my company/product?

Disruption is inevitable, and it's crucial to challenge your own product before someone else does. By constantly seeking opportunities to improve and evolve, you can stay ahead of the curve and maintain your relevance in the market.

  • 9. What future situation can make my product irrelevant?

Anticipating future scenarios that may render your product irrelevant is essential for long-term success. By proactively identifying potential threats and adapting to changing landscapes, you can ensure your product remains valuable and in demand.

  • 10. How much is our appetite to solve this problem?

Understanding the organization's appetite for problem-solving is vital. It helps gauge the level of commitment, resources, and effort that can be allocated to tackle a particular problem. Aligning the appetite with the problem's impact ensures efficient allocation of resources.

  • 11. What is feasible to build?

A good solution must be desirable for users, viable for the business, and feasible to build with the available resources and constraints. Evaluating the feasibility of a solution early on ensures realistic expectations and avoids wasted effort.

  • 12. Where is the point of diminishing return?

Identifying the point of diminishing returns helps prevent overinvestment in a solution that may not provide substantial additional value. By recognizing when the marginal benefits decrease, you can optimize resource allocation and avoid diminishing returns.

  • 13. What would the Red Team say about this solution?

Adopting a 'Red Team' perspective allows you to critically evaluate your own solution. By considering potential criticisms and challenges, you can strengthen your solution and address any weaknesses or vulnerabilities.

  • 14. What is the riskiest assumption we have here? How can we de-risk it?

Identifying and addressing the riskiest assumptions in your solution is crucial for success. By de-risking these assumptions through research, testing, and validation, you can increase the chances of delivering a successful solution.

  • 15. What is the smallest chunk of value we can deliver?

Launching a minimum viable product (MVP) or delivering incremental value allows you to gather feedback and validate assumptions early on. This minimizes the time lag between research and launch, reducing the risk of changes in requirements and trends.

  • 16. Am I the best person to solve this?

Recognizing your strengths and limitations is essential. Sometimes, it may be more effective to delegate or collaborate with others who possess the necessary expertise. Being self-aware and seeking support when needed can lead to better outcomes.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize problems based on their impact, aligning them with the long-term vision and strategy of the company or product.
  • 2. Embrace the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to understand the true motivations of customers and create solutions that meet their needs.
  • 3. Continuously challenge your own product, anticipating potential disruptions and proactively seeking opportunities to improve.


By combining the problem-solving mindset with a strategic approach, product managers can navigate the complex landscape of delivering impactful solutions. The 17 questions outlined in this article provide a playbook for sharpening your thinking and enhancing your ability to solve problems effectively. Remember to prioritize, align, and challenge, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a master problem solver in the realm of product strategy.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)