On Product Sense
I first came across the term “Product sense” from Ken Norton’s piece on hiring product managers. In it, he writes:
I am a strong believer that certain people are born with innate product instincts…And it can be tuned, but it can’t be learned.
Early in my career in product management, I remember reading Norton’s blog post and feeling like I didn’t have this innate product instinct. It was discouraging. I thought that maybe product wasn’t for me.
Marty Cagan recently wrote his take on Product sense saying that Product sense comes from deep product knowledge: understanding the customers, data, industry, market, competitors, and technology. And deep product knowledge can absolutely be trained.
In one of my favourite articles on the subject, Julie Zhuo writes that product thinking can be developed through observation and inquiry.
Through experience, I agree with Cagan and Zhuo’s perspective. While like any skill, some may be naturally better at Product Sense than others, Product sense can be developed to a high degree with the proper training.