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Why Product thinking is essential for Developers and how to apply it?

Megha Pathak
・2 min read

While developing a software product, product thinking is really important. There is a significant amount of considerations that must happen before an application reaches the market (and even if you are building a Personal Product/Project).

Product thinking is a critical process we should take into account as a first step, even before you think about your application's interface. So, the big question first-

What exactly Product Thinking is?

Product thinking allows you to create features that matter for the users of your products. It lets you see the product in context and not as a combination of features and design efforts.

And you know very well that Context is essential even in small Personal Projects. Because at the end of the day all want to make sure that they are tackling meaningful problems.

Now, you may ask -

What is the difference between Product Thinking and Project Thinking?

Project-oriented mindset (Project thinking) has been around for a long time and was indeed good at what was required of it. The Project Triangle includes - Project Scope, time, and budget. The project itself includes every component of development — from the idea to bug testing and release. Project thinking still works incredibly well, just on a different level than it used to.

But, project thinking alone is not enough for a significant market victory?

Why -

Because, as mentioned above it easy for developers to get bogged down in developing features. It’s not that features aren’t important but that they are often secondary to the reason a customer or user buys our product. That reason is simple; the user buys the product to solve a real world problem for themselves.

It is important to acknowledge that project thinking becomes much less useful when it comes to broader success.

Product thinking is not about local, but about global and grand.

Innovation clashed with legacy and product steadily takes the place of the project. - inVerita

Product thinking = Problem Solving.

So, What is a Problem?

The first step of product thinking is to determine the problem that your users are looking to solve. That’s the reason that they will buy your product (or even give feedback about on your product).

If the problem you choose doesn’t actually exist or the solution you propose doesn’t actually solve the problem – your products are going to be worthless to users.

Sure, there’s the possibility that if you get the solution wrong – you can fix it but if you solve a problem that doesn’t exist; there’s little you can do about that.

The Structure of Product Thinking

You begin with the user and determine:

  • What the problem is that you need to solve
  • The audience that you’re going to solve the problem for

Then you look at the job to be done:

  • Why are you doing this? (Vision)
  • How will we do this? (Strategy)

Finally you reach your outputs:

  • What exactly will you achieve? (Goal)

Therefore, developers should think in products first and features second. A smart combination of the project thinking and the product thinking is an optimal strategy for dominating your niche and reaching the set target on time.

Do you have any questions about Product thinking? Ask them in the discussion below.

Discussion (4)

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

I'm thinking your really talking about design thinking or design sprint or lean startup methodology to create product specific to the needs of the user.

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megha_pathak_ profile image
Megha Pathak Author

Can find see this in resonance with lean startup methodology Max.

I have less idea about design thinking or design sprint.

Though I believe any methodology that helps you in building consumer centric products can be refined to apply in product thinking.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao • Edited

Designing thinking is popularised by Ideo and design sprint is from Google Ventures are product development methodologies.

Which draws from diverse viewpoints of different specialisation to create products or services specific to the users much like Lean Startup. Usually, for design thinking, MIT uses it extensively for its engineers and UI/UX designers.

Whereas design sprint is for the innovative products/services which relies more on UI/UX designers to do it instead of getting a developer onboard.

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Megha Pathak Author

Thank you for letting me know about these. 👌