Problem Space vs Solution Space
When prospects are looking to solve a problem, they operate within their “Problem Space.” When you present your solution to them, that solution should come from your “Solution Space.” Still, perplexed about problem space vs solution space? Let’s dig into it to understand better.
Why is this important?
You want to target the most effective solutions directly to the prospect’s problem space and tailor those solutions to meet their needs and the context in which they are trying to solve it.
This isn’t just an abstract concept that applies to a few edge-case scenarios but something that shows up repeatedly in software development. Developers who think about this idea and act accordingly tend to do better work, especially with other developers or designers.
What is A Problem Space?
Problem space is the term that defines the needs of customers for a product. In the problem space of the project, you will learn about the users and problems related to them to determine what the product is needed to do. More importantly, it is the major cause upon which the solution space opportunity stands.
However, problem spaces are sometimes easy to see at first. They can be hard to define or even see clearly in the beginning. This is especially true for new products or services that have never been created before — but it also applies to existing industries that are changing rapidly, such as transportation or energy.
The best way to find a problem space is by talking to real people and listening carefully.
- What do they need?
- What frustrates them?
- What would they like to change?
Once you find a potential problem space, you can start exploring it further and building prototypes showing how your product might fit there.
What is A Solution Space?
As we discussed above, problem space is the foundation of solution space. The solution space consists of anything that depends on or is built upon the problem space, such as mockups, prototypes, and wireframes. That’s the reason most people agree about the connectivity of problem space vs solution space.
However, solution space includes all products used or designed to be used by the customers. When you create a product, you select a specific implementation. You have determined how a product works, looks, and performs, whether or not you have explicitly stated this.
Problem Space vs Solution Space – A Fine Difference
Problem space is the set of all problems that your product can solve. Solution space is the set of all solutions that solve any given problem.
The problem space is always a subset of the solution space.
We’ll explain what this means in a moment, but first, let’s look at an example to understand the difference between these two concepts better:
Let’s say you want to build a product for managing meetings and appointments. Your product could be used to manage meeting rooms, conference rooms, and other spaces where people meet up. It could also be used to schedule appointments with customers and clients, which would fall under the “meeting management software” category. The first use case falls under the problem space, while the second use case falls under the solution space.
How To Point The Problems? Bring The Team Back On The Problem Space
Let’s find out how to focus on the problems before entering the solution in this problem space vs solution space debate. Here we gather some useful tips to help keep your dedicated team from easily wandering too early within the solution space:
Control the discussions
This doesn’t mean that you should talk a lot. Whenever you notice a discussion shifting too early to the solution side, you should find a way to bring members back on track. Using a signal might be enough to control the discussions.
Mind your words
The problem arises when we don’t understand the wording we use during the discussion. However, in the problem space vs solution space, what matters is to focus on the problems, especially when we are around the team. The words we use at the moment of team discussion could ensure our team focuses more and more on the major problem.
Stay with the solutions.
When we discuss problems, we also find many solution ideas. However, it is important to understand that you should encourage your team members and maintain a good and healthy environment while keeping everyone’s suggestions on point regarding solution space.
Keep The Major Solutions Hidden
Yes, it indeed becomes impossible to focus on the problem when you have a solution. But, to bring the team back on track, allowing your team to find the solution independently is crucial. You can provide them with a kind of sticky note or anything, so they can write down the solutions they find. Discussing the problem space should remain the focus of the discussion. On flip chart paper, you can post sticky notes on the backside when you take a break.
Give A Sheet
Name two sheets of different letters and colors, and stick them to each other (from the blank space). Put the sheet in the center of the table and flip it to the color when your team switches their focus from the problem to the solution.
Understanding Customer Needs – Know The Customer’s Situation
The possibilities of problem space vs solution space are creating confusion and a gap between team members. However, finding out the customer’s needs is always on the top.
To address the customer’s problem completely takes time, and it doesn’t always seem comfortable unless you explain what you are trying to accomplish. Occasionally, customers listen to your questions and look uncomfortable as you keep asking for more details.
How To Define Solution Space In Product Management?
The goal of solution management is to solve problems encompassing the product itself, its delivery, service, packaging, and support, as well as how it interacts with other solutions. The space opportunity is created to define the benefits and qualities of the products. Therefore, required solutions are always ready to implement if needed.
If you find a problem and don’t know the solution, you can get help from a better product management tool. This tool helps you organize the product backlog, prioritize development tasks, and map-related features.
The problem space vs solution space depends on the customer’s needs. One should find out the solution immediately when there is a problem. You can gather your team in one place and ask them to look for a solution (which has a 100% possibility of working). Prioritize a product management tool like Agile User Story Mapping that will help manage all things in one place.