What are your controversial opinions about Product Management?

As a relatively new PM, I see a lot of “best practices” that are parroted everywhere. Which ones do you think are naive or just flat out wrong?


Most people have no idea what they’re doing and are just trying to get by. Don’t buy into the people that look like they have everything together, we’re all just hacking it together and trying to move the bar a little bit at a time.

Another ultra hot take in the same arena, people that work on great products are not great PMs. You can easily ride the coattails of a flash in the pan market moment and be in the right team and the exact right time.


Also, because people have no idea, the industry is inundated with frameworks, methodologies, and general business practices. While there is certainly value in many of these, the best Product Managers simply know how to grind. When things get tough, these practices can only take you so far. You need to learn how to grind away at problems using many different methods.


This is so true. Even the most polished and smart PM leaders I’ve met, once I became really great friends with them, I’d start hearing more about these things they also struggled with. Anything from how they were terrified for a new opportunity and weren’t sure if they would hack it, or more simple things like they got incredibly nervous to present.


Some of the best product decisions in existence are “gut feel” calls based on intuition and reasoning out an experience - not by talking to customers, analyzing data, or following any of the countless processes our field likes to say are the superior way to do product work.


I agree, but this is something I actually discuss a lot, because “gut feel” prioritization is far too common. Most product managers are not geniuses with ground breaking ideas ahead of their time, but that’s how so many product managers choose what to do. Product managers who work on intuition and are successful are the exception to the rule. For most product managers, the key to success is a process that results in good products. Org structure that allows for real ownership of a problem space / mission, solid product metrics, data driven prioritization, framing problems to solve and not trying to define specific solutions (leave that to the engineers, designers, researchers etc.). And to be honest even genius product managers that make calls based on their intuition should still have those processes in place and their intuition should be when they decide to go against process, not just an excuse for a lack of any process.

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Agree with this. Our VP of product at the company I work at pretty much just copies existing industry trends and what other companies are doing but he’s considered “innovative”. He basically just rides any buzz word that’s resonating that year in the tech industry/state of SaaS and tells tech to figure it out.