Communication | It’s All About Understanding the Problem

portrait of Nico DiPlacido
Nico DiPlacido

Problem-solving and pitfalls.

  • As a product manager, it’s a common pitfall to become very solution-focused. Instead of deeply understanding what the problem is, people start to think directly about a solution. Once you become solutions-minded, it’s tough to see outside of that solution. Instead, try getting to the root of the issue.
  • When making a data-driven decision, you have to understand methods and how that data was gathered to avoid data integrity pitfalls. Ask yourself whether you are interpreting that data in a way that benefits or matches a hypothesis that you already have. 
  • Be highly skeptical of yourself when you’re problem-solving. Be careful not to fool yourself and to look for data that already affirms or is a bias of your already previously held beliefs. Remember that once a measure becomes a metric, it no longer becomes a good measure.

Product Manager Roles and KPIs.

Product Manager Roles and KPIs.

  • Product management is about understanding the problems and pains of what your users are experiencing in their own jobs and then prioritizing those problems for them.  Prioritization and understanding users are the main responsibilities of a PM. 
  • Product Owner designs the agile Scrum manifesto. As a product owner, you put your head down and deliver upon a problem, generally in two to three-week intervals with an engineering team. The product owner’s job is to work more tactically with the engineers and designers to prioritize the backlog and release schedule when the solutions to the problems are coming out.
  • Product Marketer, think, “how am I enabling our users to use this feature? How am I enabling the organization that I work in to sell and to support?” In addition, they are trying to upsell around this feature set to ensure its adoption and how it’s used most successfully.

What an MIT (Media, Information & Technoculture) degree taught him

  • Theories and principles of how technology has influenced human behaviour organization help him in his role now. When you learn how to think of tech, social media, or different things impacting how individuals come together as a society, it can help you understand the startup and technology workspace. 
  • It’s not always tech with a capital T (ex. a phone, the internet, or USBs.) It focuses on how innovations have impacted the ways in which humans move from place to place. Such as the creation of pavement, cars, and airplanes. Where we then start to understand how these things impact human beings for better or worse, we can change the way we design and manage them. 
  • There’s a joke within MIT that you become insufferable to watch TV or commercials or movies after you graduate because you can point out all of the little critiques and nuances that are the underlying messages within all of these different media avenues.