Product managers are crowned as the rising stars in recent times. With changing operational strategy, their success stories are gaining considerable spotlight in the form of interviews and case studies.
Today, the community is recognized as a crucial component for running a successful business.
But for project managers to successfully navigate the highest highs and also the lowest lows of the job, they need to develop the right instincts.
However, to understand the role of instincts in the workplace, let’s first look at what the role of a product manager (PM) constitutes.
What Does A PM Do?
The responsibilities of a PM span across every running department of an organization. They fill in the white space gaps that develop across the realms of working operations.
A PM actively has their foot in product strategy, designing, customer needs, market requirements, and tracking performance metrics. To deal with this huge spectrum of responsibilities is quite a task.
This being said, there are different PMs for different product categories. But the underlying spectrum of responsibilities remains fairly generic.
What Does a PM’s Workday Look Like?
PMs are one of those employees who will always be spotted with colorfully booked calendars. They’re swamped with continuous meetings, either with their teams or with the company’s target audience.
And, it does make sense. Much of their responsibility centers around understanding consumer pain-points, which helps in drawing effective strategies to combat them.
Given the agile dynamics of corporate behavior, it doesn’t sound feasible to rely solely on data. Yes, data is inherently important to take high-stake calls. But it isn’t exhaustive in itself.
This points to an important but undiscovered quality: Product Instinct.
While this doesn’t constitute as industrial terminology, it surely plays an important role in shaping managerial success.
This points to the next question:
How Do Instincts Help With Product Management?
A PM assimilates a wide pool of information from verbal and written sources, including reports, charts, existing data, predicted data, etc. These are great to paint a holistic picture of the existing challenges.
However, this black and white distinction is restrictive in itself. Product Management is an experiment. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t.
If it weren’t for your managerial instincts, it’s difficult to experiment and expand your scope of future operations (and success)!
Think about it this way: You’re on the quest to discovering a new product that solves the XYZ challenge of your target audience.
As a first-time venture, with no substantial informational base to validate your apprehensions, how will you proceed? This is where instincts come into play.
It’s vital to keep yourself in your consumer’s shoes and then think about the strategy. This way, it helps you build relatability in your approach and provides the kind of answers you were seeking in the first place.
To quote Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy consumers are your greatest source of learning.”
This learning is possible when you think like a consumer and trust your instincts to find the solutions that yield success.
How Can You Develop Your Product Instincts For A Successful Run As A PM?
Product management is a lifelong journey. The initial seeds that you sow reap benefits with consistent efforts and an open mindset.
While nobody can teach you about your own instincts, there are product owner certifications that help you with the necessary resources and skillsets required to promote yourself into the space of a successful PM.
There is no set of books that can teach you product management. However, real case studies, premium resources, and networking with the best leaders do.
And this is what you earn with certifications from sources like Product Manager HQ.
The takeaway is this; product management is an interplay between an extensive database, internal gut-feeling, and the ability to widen your risk appetite.
This being said, your instincts should be relied upon only when you have the relevant justification to back them up.
What Are The Examples Of Product Instincts?
Instincts are natural inclination in a given situation. But how is this relevant to product management?
Let’s understand with an example. Suppose you’re in a meeting with the developers and strategizers for a new launch scheduled for the upcoming fall season.
After hearing the pitch, your first reaction is, “I don’t think this is feasible,” or “The consumers wouldn’t want this but that…” or “Will this be workable?”
By now, you understand the point we’re trying to make here. As a receptor, your sub-conscious is accepting information that your conscious mind fails to notice. And these instincts are a result of that.
These instincts are the key to success because it enables you to showcase your out-of-the-box judgments. It works as a sincere attempt to prove your ability to work well in agile environments where the money is in the idea.
Does A Lack Of Strong Instincts Make Someone A Bad PM?
Instincts come at handy. There is no set definition of right or wrong in this case. They’re developed over time. Give them a certification only when you’ve handled enough experience in your industry.
As a PM, your ultimate goal is to understand the market, map it to your consumer’s queries, and find the solution to stand out! This field is no science; it’s an art of expression.
If you can do that, you’re doing your job well! However, to excel as a PM, build on yourself and witness the magic of your instinctual commands.
Let Your Gut Do The Talking
Your subconscious is a powerful zone that possesses the ability to help you reach the sky. Don’t be afraid to take those risks.
As a PM, it is imperative to take low-risk, high-rewarding calls. But don’t let this pressure intimidate your rationale.
Yes, Excel, SQL, Communication Skills, and Presentation Skills will help you outperform others in an organization.
But the ability to let your instincts take over will help you shine the brightest for your consumers and in the industry on a macro level!
Believe in your instincts. Let them take over. Trust us, you’ll be surprised at your own self. The discovery of a new you on this successful path of product management commences here.