The black hole contexts you occupy working in product

The black hole contexts you occupy working in product
Photo by Yong Chuan Tan / Unsplash

Many product people complain about the difficulty of 'context switching'. Afterall, as product people, we're at the intersection of the user, tech and business. We're trying to find the intersections, rather than seeing them as different entities.

It's no wonder you can feel exhausted. Here are some of the most common contexts I find myself occupying.

Organisational context

  • What is the organisation aiming for? Vision and goals
  • What is the leadership culture
  • What is the relationship between leadership and staff?
  • What are the departmental tensions?
  • Where is it now?

Market context

  • How is the market performing?
  • How does your company and product fit into that?
  • Who is performing well/poorly and why?

Political and economic context

  • What are the political mainstreams and subcultures?
  • Where is the country headed?
  • Where does what you do fit into that?

Product context

  • What are we learning?
  • Is the solution feasible? Is it scalable, maintainable?
  • What are the tensions?

Your work intersects with the above

If you're not concerned about these different contexts, you:

  • Miss the valuable opportunities the intersections provide
  • You're focus is too narrow and you're just delivering software rather than a very real human outcome
  • You absolve yourself from the very real responsibility your position provides e.g is what you're developing ethical?
  • You get swallowed by 1 or a few contexts because the varying contexts each has its own universe. Infinite!