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Product Sense: Goal related questions

Hi Team,

I have a few questions as I try to learn the approach to handle product design questions based on the FB PM course. Sharing some general information to set the context. The approach I used until now to solve the design question was as follows - Mission, Market research, Goal, Users, Needs, Solutions, Tradeoffs, Metrics. And I prioritized after each of the following: Users, Needs, and Solutions. – I am planning to change the approach after going through the FB PM course.

Here are the questions I have related to the goals section ( or in general related to setting the direction of the interview). My biggest concern is to come up with a goal. I fear that I can pigeonhole myself in a direction that may not be most optimal. Or I may end up coming up with a goal that is too high level and thus will make it difficult to narrow down the scope later.

  • For example, consider this Facebook design question - “Design a sports product”

    1. For the above question, I usually spend some time under the ‘market research’ section.
    2. Then break the question into broad segments - Individuals/Businesses. Give reasons to say pick ‘Individuals’ and then further segment ( Watch, Learn, Teach, Play, etc.). Then rationalize and pick one of the segments. Say “Teach”
    3. Then come up with a goal that will align with the mission. E.g. “Enable individuals to teach sports”
  • The above process may not work all the time. So, I have been trying to spend time going through “What”, “Why”, “How”… questions regarding the area being evaluated during the market research section as well. But, I haven’t nailed a good process yet.

  • In the PM course, would your approach be any different if the question was “Build a product for home renters”. If yes, would you mind sharing how will you approach it?

  • Your strategy to define a metric during the goals section is VERY helpful. Especially because it gives me a solid reason not to get tied to a discovery goal upfront :). However, I am still not sure about a foolproof method to narrow down a goal (/direction for the area being evaluated) that early in the process.

Any guidance will be appreciated.

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You’re absolutely right — this is a though thing to do well. The goal should be board & aspirational: “Enable individuals to teach sports” is not a goal, that’s tactic to achieve a goal.

Here’s a foolproof way to define a goal: reword the company’s mission around the particular space.

  • For example: Facebook’s mission is “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”. If you were asked about “Design a sports product”, I would recommend a goal like “Bring people closer together through sports”
  • Two formats that work nearly 100% of the time with Facebook: “Bring people closer together with X” or “Build community through X”

The goal should be aspirational: (a) it shouldn’t so restrictive that it constrains the search space and (b) should clearly connect to the company mission. This method will help you get there much more reliably.

Other thoughts:

  • I’m not sure about your “market research” section, but sounds like it could be harmful/distracting

Very helpful. Thanks so much.

I agree, I need to review my approach completely.

This is super helpful! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks David. however, do you recommend adding a metric that ties in to the goal so we can measure success? If so, then should that metric be added in the goals section of later?

Answered here: Product Sense Question - for Goals Section