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5 Central Questions of PM

(***NB: I’ve lifted part of this from aakashgupta @ substack.com – more for my own recollection)

These are the 5 central PM questions

  1. Why → Vision
  2. What → Strategy
  3. Who → Segmentation
  4. When → Roadmap
  5. How → Specifications

I find this to be a simple structure for any PM to think about their product. but i think the same can be applied to wider business. Often many of the companies I’m working with have only a few of these 5 really clarified, typically i find that theres a massive neglect of the When and the How (roadmap and specifications); and over emphasis on the Why.

I see this manifest itself in two ways –

A ‘build it and they will come’ approach to product development where very little research, validation and customer feedback is done prior to investing massive resources into a new feature.

The second manifestation is a shot gun approach to new features, the founder looks at competitors and the business landscape, and despite limited resources (and usually research), tries to build an ever expanding list of unvalidated new features in a hope that one will stick.

both of these demonstrate a weakness in the ‘what’ (the strategy).

I think to solve this, founders need to step back, keep and open minds and spend more time asking questions and understanding their market, the role of their business in addressing the needs of the market and really drilling into who they are helping (the segmentation) and why they matter to that market (the vision).

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