Gut Feel Product Management

Many Product People are still managing their activities by “Gut Feel” They do not have a clearly articulated plan that they are following and often “shoot from the hip” in terms of their decision making process.

Is “gut feel” necessarily incorrect though? How do Product Managers know that they are performing the right day to day activities, adding the right features to their product, reviewing the right numbers?

I think that most Product Managers in Australia tend to practice “gut feel Product Management”. And “gut feel Product Management” is not necessarily an abhorrent practice.

Product Managers are generally domain or subject matter experts and tend to have a wealth of knowledge about their market, the competitors and customers. Some Product Managers may not have clearly articulated and defined their target market but they have strong opinions based on their professional experience, direct feedback from customers and the Call Centre or Customer Service. With this wealth of experience, many will tend to create product features instinctively. This informal method for managing products has led to development of some good feature sets for many products and services in a range of organisations in Australia.

“Gut feel Product Management” is about having a deep understanding of your customers’ needs, the product, applying common sense, brainstorming with your various internal delivery teams and instinctively understanding and delivering products and features customers want.

“Gut feel Product Managers” generally do not have functional knowledge of Product Management and will not use strict methodologies. And whilst an understanding of Product Management methodology gives Product Managers the foundation that they need to help them become better Product Managers, “gut feel Product Management” can’t be completely discredited.

Those that are trained in Product Management methodologies also tend to naturally gravitate towards “gut feel” and to ignore “gut feel” discussions is taking too simplistic a view, an almost robotic view of Product Management.