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Commercialisation de produits innovants (PDF téléchargeable)

A B2B Product Management Story: on discovering problems that customers actually care about

A thread by Shreyas Doshi

A B2B Product Management Story: on discovering problems that customers actually care about

Very visual story thread below



Our story starts with a new product idea

PM diligently talks to customers about whether this product will solve their problems

Customers say yes!

PM reports findings to the executive team

There's excitement

Staffing obtained ????????


Hardly any customer adopts it

At the next product review:

PM directs attention towards positives:
“Here’s what we’ve learnt”

Learnings usually include:
“Our MVP isn’t sufficient. We need to make it easier to implement & adopt. We need features X, Y, Z”

PM gets mandate to build said features



Adoption is still anemic????

At next product review:
Sales & Marketing start getting implicated

PM says:
“We know from talking to customers that we have the right product. We just need to improve our Go-To-Market strategy.”

Executives & the PM are “pot-committed” at this point.

Ideas about how to better sell the product are discussed: reduce prices, cross-sell, bundle, email campaigns, re-organize the Sales team, etc.

Changes are made.


Still no growth????

By this time, original PM has left the team

A new PM joins. Starts with a “customer listening tour” in first 90 days

Identifies some additional issues

Presents new findings & recommendations to the executive team

Gets mandate to execute on revised plan

Now what?

Go back a few tweets

Repeat the steps a couple more times

More things shipped

Still no growth

And then


Executive team decides to sunset the product

Learnings are captured and shared widely in the org

"We haven't failed, we have learnt"

Of course, Edison is quoted at some point

So, what really happened here?

Many possible reasons for this saga, but the most common ones:

(A) The product should not have been built in the first place

(B) The original product was ill-conceived & the later pivots had to inherit this original error

Let's look at (A)????????

The product solved a problem

But not the problem

Often, product teams want to be in the top right quadrant

But, there's more to the puzzle

We need to understand this

And remember it

Daniel Kahneman said:

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it”

This is the Focusing Illusion.

The Focusing Illusion, in business:

“Nothing in business is as important as it actually is, while you are talking about it.”

When you talk to a customer about a specific problem, they will naturally “focus” on that problem, at the exclusion of other problems they (or their business overall) is facing.

With this focus comes a disproportionate emphasis on solving THAT specific problem.

A good solution here:
Customer Problems Stack Rank (CPSR)

Ask the customer to stack rank the problem vs. the other problems they are trying to solve for their business & org.

Also get the CPSR from other personas involved: VP Support, VP Mktg...

You are now closer to truth.

The lesson

Huge thanks to @shaunemiller for collaboration on this thread.

The excellent visuals are all Shaun.

Any mistakes are entirely mine.

Consider following Shaun at:

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