How to Nail the Customer Problem Statement by Amazon Sr PM, Rashi Gupta

Basics of Product Management.

The key responsibility of the product manager is to: determine the basic needs of customers, business goals; defining these needs in a way that is understandable to technicians. Define a vision for your product, create a roadmap, and then assemble a team to achieve that vision.

The product manager works to understand customer needs against business goals and translate those needs into simple product requirements or user stories that can then be understood by technical people for simultaneous product development.

Work closely with the team in terms of identifying the client's problem, in terms of designing for your specific product.

As a product manager, you get the opportunity to work in different teams. This is the rule of individual contribution until you reach a certain level and start managing a team of product managers. Although you know that you are responsible for working with a large number of teams, you will not have direct authority over them. This is one of the key skills you need to develop as a product manager.

Who should become a product manager?

If you are PASSIONATE about solving a real customer problem...

Key skills required...

  • Deal with ambiguity

  • Influence without authority

  • Making the right trade-offs

  • Have rationality over rationalizing

("The world needs more rationality and less rationalizing.

Rationalizing is searching for justifications after you`ve reached an opinion or decision.

Rationality is seeking the best logic and data before you commit - and staying open to changing your mind." Adam Grant)

How to build a successful product?

  1. Define the Customer Problem

  2. Identify Solutions

  3. Evaluate the opportunity & risks

  4. Create the Product Vision & Roadmap

  5. Define the Customer experience (MVP & North Star)

  6. Prioritize

  7. Prototype & Test

  8. Launch MVP & Track Performance

  9. Kill or Grow

How to arrive at the customer problem statement?

"A problem well stated is a problem half - solved" - Charles Kettering.

"If I had an hour to solve a problem I`d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions." - Albert Einstein.

Why is customer problem statement important?

Understanding the problem is most important to building a successful product as that is the reason they will buy the product.

Common Mistakes PMs make

  • Spend lesser time on identifying the problem

  • Jumping into perceived solution directly

  • Think solution backwards

  • Think Technology backwards

  • Think competitor backwards

How to arrive at the customer problem statement?

  1. Identify "Who is the customer?"

  2. Understand the customer journey, their needs, motivations, pain points

  3. Define the customer problem(s)

  4. Add quantitative and qualitative data (Customer Anecdotes/ Observations) to validate the customer need.

Who is the customer?

Understand the customer journey, their needs, motivations, pain points.

Define the Problem Statement

Example of a poorly-written Customer Problem Statement.

"Customers need voice enabled search because it would allow them to search faster without typing. "

This statement is poorly-written because it mentions your product and does not elaborate on a challenge that your customers are facing.

Example of a well-written Customer Problem Statement.

"New Customers from Tier -3, Tier -4 cities find it difficult to type the name which leads to incorrect results and xx% customers dropping off from search (vs yy% for Tier 1& Tier 2 cities)"

This statement is well - written because it narrows down to "Customer cohort", "identifies the problem" also validates the need with data.

Framework 1: For creating a Customer Problem Statement

Customer Anecdote 1: ""

Customer Anecdote 2: ""

Framework 2: For creating a Customer Problem Statement

You will need to collect a lot of data from the different sources that we have discussed, but once you do that, it will give you a clear picture of the client's problem statement, the problems the clients are facing. And it will help you create scalable solutions that customers will love and find the right product for the market.

Rashi Gupta, Amazon Sr PM.