Experienced PMs will tell you that most of the product ideas they’ve worked on haven’t actually come from them. A good PM sources ideas from different avenues and focus on ones that have the most potential to solve user pain.
I’ve found that the Employees-Metrics-Users-Clients (EMUC) framework, taken from an article written by Rishiraj K, provides a straight forward way to think about sourcing ideas.
In a good product org, employees usually talk to the users at all levels based on their area of engagement such as operations, business development, customer support or sales. Sourcing ideas cross functionally from employees can really help find diverse suggestions.
Sourcing ideas from observing the data and metrics for the product can really help focus on key areas that need improvement. Example: you may observe a significant drop within the user on-boarding flow and, therefore, it would inspire new ideas, such as re-thinking the content or the flow itself, to improve conversion.
Good PMs are always talking to users. Monitoring key feedback loops for your product, such app reviews, support tickets, usability studies, customer success meetings, and others can help source ideas at the root of the problem.
Often applicable for B2B products, where the customer/buyer may not always be the user of the app, can help source ideas that extend or add certain functionalities to the product for particular use cases.
Do we really need another acronym?
Most acronyms are redundant – so why is EMUC meaningful?
The EMUC acts like a checklist to ensure you’re considering each source for ideas. Even though obvious, it’s easy to not consider all of them when building.
It’s important to note that EMUC provides the input sources; the who. How one does the actual idea generation (ex. Design Sprints, Brainstorming, etc.) is something I’ll cover in the future.