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Problem solving: why solving real user problems is the key

  • Post published:August 27, 2020

How do you treat a new project? Do you focus on a timeline or care about delivering results?

Did you realize a report under no circumstances considered complete if it does not answer these questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? The Five Ws whose answers are compulsory to find for problem solving.

While developing a project, software engineers must apply the Five Ws principle for effective problem solving. Because plainly, end-user buys the product to solve a real-world problem for themselves.

Albert Einstein said; “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”

Most IT companies aren’t appropriately rigorous in defining the end-user problems when developing new products. Especially, when the product is deployed in the market, users come up with their pain points which you never considered, to begin with.

Here arise the theory of product thinking for effective problem solving.

Product Thinking

Knowing “what” to build, without knowing ‘what to build.’ The worst part!

What is the product? In marketing, it is defined as ‘anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need.’ That means the fundamental benefit is what solutions consumers are getting from the product they purchase.

Naren Katakam says there are three entities to a result in a product: users, business, and technology. To elaborate it, users (problem solving), businesses (solution providers), and technology (the bridge that connects the two).

Then, why you should think in products?

Product thinking when you focus on who are the users, and what are their wants? How are their needs to be met? Where to invest? Why validate ideas? When to deploy?

Did you notice how wonderfully you covered the Five Ws?

Product thinking teams concentrates on effective problem solving and the outcome to attain, rather than fixating on a timeline and product scope.

How to achieve effective problem solving

It is estimated that mainly 70-80 percent of software projects do not succeed for the reason that they do not build what they are asked to build. There can be several reasons for it but those who stay one step ahead are the ones who think like their customers. 

They build as per their end-users’ demand. 

Just keep in mind that you don’t have to follow a particular pattern but product thinking teaches you to always keep your customers in your thoughts. Your focus should be the need of your customer and user experience, that’s about it.

Product thinking is the product people

Product thinking aka problem solving encompasses getting to know your end-users and their individual needs before you jump into the development phase.

Put yourself in the shoe of a customer and think if you go to a market to buy a product do you ask the shopper such questions: how much money was spent on its production? How much time did they take to build it? Or do you ask the shopper how do you sell it?

But you do ask such questions: what is the product? Why do I need it? How will it affect me? So clearly, the customer cares about the product, the process doesn’t concern them.

How to apply problem solving

The structure of product thinking outlines the following:

  • What is the problem that you would like to solve for the users?
  • Identify the audience that you’re about to solve the problem for
  • Envision why are you doing it?
  • Develop a Strategy – how
  • What are the outputs that you require?
  • What can you do to reach your goal line?

How to develop a problem solving mind-set

Product thinking supports software engineers to design flawless products. It’s a way of examining what solution the user is looking for.

Here are some traits that software engineers can follow for effective problem solving:

  • Observe your product managers and try to think like them
  • Apply design thinking as a strategy for problem solving
  • Develop empathy approach in product thinking

“When customers love your product, they become ambassadors. There’s nothing better than someone using your app every day and trying to get their friends and family to do the same.”

– Tom Padula, Senior Product Manager at SiriusXM

Key Point

Product thinking teaches you to ‘love the problem to find a solution’ and ‘think in products, not features.’ If you want to design Aplus software products, you can apply the above holistic approaches to determine the problem that your users are looking to solve.

Problem solving makes development happy!

Just to inform

Nextbridge is a custom software development company aiming to serve customers to solve complex business challenges in the best way possible. You can get in touch to work with our talented project management team anytime you wish.