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Start with the problem

I recently listened to a podcast with Blair Ethington, VP of Product at Sam's Club, who spoke of the transition she oversaw in moving the teams from a waterfall approach to a more agile approach of product development.

One thing that stood out to me was, "I couldn't just say 'Oh I have heard of this cool thing called Agile, everybody is doing it, we should try it'. That would be against the principle I was vouching for as it would be starting with the solution. Instead, I started by identifying what problems the current way of product development had, and how a different approach could help address those problems." 

We often look at habits, rituals, practices and techniques and think, "Oh that sounds like a cool idea. I should try that as well." 

Instead, we should always be starting with the problem that we are setting out to solve, so that we have an objective way to understand if the new habits are helping and if they aren't, to understand why not. 

Start with the problem. That's Product Management 101 after all. 

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