Keeping it simple, here are the 3 most important questions to ask;
1. Who are you building your product for and what is their pain?
2. What would address your customers’ pain and improve their lives?
3. What will you actually build?
These questions are highlighted by Pat Kinsel in his excellent article Fixing broken startups - the product org.
Pat explores how startups often struggle to bring discipline to product management as the company starts to scale.
Founders who (rightly so) adopt lean methodology in their early days can find that with larger teams comes the need for more rigour. The three questions above are a great reminder that product management is not about project management and feature development, it's about understanding customers.
Regarding the three questions, Pat goes on to say...
Unfortunately, many startups can answer the last question, but fall apart on the first two. Their task list is a poorly considered jumble based only on gut instinct.
I highly recommend the article if you are a founder, CEO, CTO or product manager.
The reality is that there's a discipline required to source and structure customer insight, align that with a vision and turn it into a meaningful product roadmap.