What are your thoughts on Product Sense?

Product sense is a crucial skill for Product Managers (PMs), often referred to as a combination of experience, domain knowledge, empathy, and design thinking. It is often referred to as a “secret sauce” or “silver bullet” but is actually an important skill.

My questions are:

  • What does the term “product sense” actually mean?
  • Have you ever met a PM in real life who is exceptionally knowledgeable about products? What makes them unique?
  • Is “Product Sense” something that can be developed?

The community’s opinion on this topic is welcome.


One of the best articles on product sense/product judgment that I’ve come across is this one: Product judgment: Product Judgment: How to repeatedly create product success

I discovered this a few years ago, and it’s quite amazing. Read it, please.

It involves putting yourself in the customer’s position by getting to know them well (via routine interactions and procedures) and being able to predict how they will react to a certain feature concept.


@DaveKim, It doesn’t sound like “product sense” is something that can exist outside of the confines of the product that a person is working on, according to the definition in this excellent essay.

Therefore, it is foolish for any hiring manager to search for prefabricated “product sense.”

It seems to me that a candidate can have good systems to understand customers, but that ‘product sense’ is not a typical PM talent.

Product sense is not a standalone skill that can be acquired independently of the product itself. It is a nuanced understanding that develops through hands-on experience and deep knowledge of the product’s intricacies. While a candidate may possess excellent customer understanding and analytical abilities, true product sense can only be honed by actively working on and shaping the product over time. Hiring managers should focus on assessing a candidate’s potential to develop strong product sense rather than expecting it to be pre-existing.


I completely agree with @RohitKumar. “Product sense” appears to be just another buzzword utilized and pushed by organizations that provide product courses and Product Management elitists. While it is true that some organizations may use “product sense” as a marketing tactic, it is important to recognize that the concept itself holds value. Developing a strong understanding of the market, user needs, and industry trends can greatly contribute to successful product management.

Just as any expert will acquire a “legal sense,” “medical sense,” “bridge engineering sense,” etc., I’m not arguing it doesn’t exist. However, it is crucial to approach the concept of “product sense” with a critical mindset and not blindly follow any organization claiming to provide expertise in this area. It is essential to thoroughly research and evaluate the credibility and reputation of the courses or individuals offering product management training before investing time and resources into them.


It’s identical to “cultural fit” in employment. Before someone is actually there, you can’t truly tell what kind of person they will be in that culture. You might be surprised at how flexible they are. They might alter your society in unexpected ways. Cultural fit in employment refers to the alignment of an individual’s values, beliefs, and behaviors with those of the organization. Similarly, when it comes to a new person entering a different culture, their adaptability and openness can greatly influence their integration. Their unique perspectives and experiences might even bring about positive changes that were unforeseen by the existing members of the society.

These are all basically ways of preserving a certain degree of subjective control. It is regrettable that some individuals believe this gatekeeping is essential. However, it is important to recognize that gatekeeping can also hinder progress and limit diversity within a society. By restricting access and imposing rigid norms, innovative ideas and alternative viewpoints may be stifled, preventing the growth and evolution of the community. Embracing inclusivity and valuing different perspectives can lead to a more dynamic and inclusive society.


There’s nothing more annoying than receiving a job offer and then being told at the interview, “Oh, you don’t have my depth of market or user knowledge after a short preparation period.” Usually, the interviewer is a sarcastic jerk who uses Google or Facebook on their résumé. It works well if you want someone with domain experience already, and it’s flamboyantly foolish if you don’t mind giving them time to catch up.

However, it is important to remember that not all interviewers behave in this manner. Some employers understand the value of giving candidates the opportunity to learn and grow on the job, recognizing that skills can be developed over time with proper training and guidance. Ultimately, it is crucial for both parties to have clear expectations and open communication during the hiring process.


I appreciate you sharing the article; in my opinion, it provides a solid synthesis of the majority of the relevant information. However, I believe it skirts the main point of the original poster’s query and the overall discussion of “sense” (as an intuition) versus “sense” (as the application of judgment and decision-making in the real world).

It also surprises me that, at least as of this writing, no one else has directly addressed the “intuition” sense in a remark. So I’ll try it (based only on the opinion of one random internet user, of course):

Product Intuition (what interviewers mean): The ability to have and demonstrate a ‘product centric’ mindset and intuition around what makes products great and improves them - independent of the particular product domain

Ex. Someone who has a strong product intuition, would be able to abstractly and naturally describe what makes for a ‘good’ product.

More precisely though and in practice, it means having an ‘intuition’ not just around decisions, but also when you do not have enough information to be confident. It means knowing when you don’t know, and when information is limited but decisions need to be made, being able to apply that level of confidence as a part of how things are implemented.

In many ways though, product intuition is about mindset, perspective and ‘feel’. Its the difference between jumping to ‘product frameworks’ directly for ‘the right answer’ rather than intuiting the relevance of each framework, and applying parts of it as is most effective. (studying frameworks ≠ having product sense)

Product Judgement (specific product and domain advocacy): This is what I believe is what the commenter and the article you shared is referring to - the how to make better products in a way that is independent from one’s sense - but is strictly viewed in the lens of the specific customer problem, pain point and what they are actually paying you for.

I think true product judgement can only be properly curated over time as a function of experience and exposure in a specific area. (You must understand your operating landscape)

Ability to develop and build one’s product judgement is a requirement to be anything more than a half-decent PM. Excellent PMs have a well built product judgement.

Combining these independent factors together: IMO, ‘product judgement’ when combined with powerful ‘product intuition’ is the mega-combo, and is what makes incredible PMs, incredible.

Half expecting to be down voted for this view - but these are definitely different dimensions of the same conversation, and seem to be intermingled when discussed. I do believe Product Intuition can also be developed, but it also requires a very open and curious ‘learning mindset’.


Product sense is indeed a crucial skill for Product Managers (PMs). It encompasses a combination of several key attributes and skills that enable PMs to make informed decisions and create successful products. Here’s a breakdown of what “product sense” means:

  1. Experience: Product sense is built upon experience. A PM with strong product sense has a deep understanding of the product development process, market dynamics, and user behavior. They have often worked on various product-related projects, gaining insights and learning from successes and failures.

  2. Domain Knowledge: A PM needs to be knowledgeable about the specific industry or domain they are working in. This knowledge helps them identify trends, understand competition, and envision how their product can address user needs within that domain.

  3. Empathy: Product sense involves being empathetic to the needs and desires of the users. PMs need to understand the pain points and motivations of the users to create products that truly serve their needs.

  4. Design Thinking: A strong sense of design thinking is essential. It means approaching problems with a user-centric mindset, focusing on user experience, and ensuring that the product is intuitive, aesthetically pleasing, and functional.

  5. Market Insight: Product sense involves keeping a pulse on the market. PMs need to know what the competition is doing, what trends are emerging, and how the product can stay relevant and competitive in the market.

  6. Decision-Making Skills: PMs with good product sense can make sound decisions, even in the face of uncertainty. They can prioritize features, set a product roadmap, and make trade-offs to deliver the best value to users.

Regarding your second question, I haven’t met people in the traditional sense, but I have knowledge of and information about Product Managers who are exceptionally knowledgeable about products. What makes them unique often includes their ability to combine the attributes mentioned above effectively. They tend to be excellent communicators, visionaries, and problem solvers. They can see the big picture while paying attention to details and effectively work with cross-functional teams.

As for your third question, “Product Sense” is indeed something that can be developed. While some individuals may naturally possess certain aspects of product sense, many aspects can be learned and honed over time. This can be achieved through education, training, hands-on experience, and by seeking mentorship from experienced product managers. Building product sense is an ongoing process, and it often evolves as a PM gains more experience and understanding of their domain and user base. It’s a skill that is continually refined throughout a PM’s career.


I believe that “gut instinct” and “product sense” are things that we should all be cautious about. These are ML-like reactions that our brain has produced based on past experiences and behavior. Essentially, a machine with unconscious bias.

It makes biological sense for our brain to automate this process and provide solutions without requiring us to recollect details. If an action throughout tens of thousands of years led to food being obtained, it was probably a positive action overall. A single person in the modern world must adapt to multiple radical changes in business, culture, technology, etc. I’ve encountered a lot of folks who found it difficult to ignore their intuition, which they had formed in a different culture. This highlights the challenge of reconciling our intuitive responses with the demands of a rapidly changing world. While intuition can be a valuable tool, it is important to recognize that what may have been advantageous in one cultural context may not necessarily be effective in another. Therefore, developing the ability to adapt and question our intuition becomes crucial to navigating these diverse and evolving environments.


@DanCoelho, I’m completely in agreement with this if we’re discussing brainstorming solutions. That’s just a rather sloppy method of construction. It’s great to have a product sense that allows you to identify typical areas of friction and pain in the user experience. By understanding the common pain points, one can come up with innovative solutions that enhance the overall user experience. Additionally, having a strong product sense enables the identification of potential improvements and optimizations that can lead to a more seamless and enjoyable user journey.


How naturally do you believe that you understand what needs to be fixed or changed most about any product, whether it be software or hardware? Do you take four hours to look through product reviews and watch videos before you spend forty dollars on a purchase? Are you unintentionally thinking about this all the time, about everything, all the time? If you answered “yes” to every question above, you might have product sense in addition to anxiety and ADHD.

This is not like, for example, Karen’s default attitude of complaining or escalating everything, regardless of the actual product or service experience. Product sense is a unique ability to assess the quality and value of products or services, whether they be software or hardware. It goes beyond simply complaining or escalating issues and involves a thorough evaluation process, including researching reviews and watching videos before making a purchase. This level of attention to detail and constant consideration of product choices may indicate a combination of anxiety, ADHD, and an innate understanding of product quality.


Product sense, in my opinion, is knowing that success is equal to analysis plus capital plus execution. It’s the capacity to evaluate products using that framework to gauge their likelihood of success and to successfully apply your knowledge of it to your work.

Product sense is a crucial skill for product managers, as it allows them to make informed decisions and prioritize features based on their potential impact. By understanding the market, user needs, and competition, product managers can effectively strategize and create successful products.

Additionally, having strong product sense enables professionals to identify opportunities for innovation and stay ahead in the ever-evolving industry. Product managers with strong product sense are able to analyze market trends and consumer behavior to identify gaps and opportunities that others may overlook. This ability not only helps them develop innovative and successful products but also gives them the competitive edge to stay ahead in the rapidly changing industry.

With a deep understanding of the market and the needs of their target users, product managers can confidently make decisions and drive their teams towards creating impactful and valuable products.


Here’s a related good article: How to develop product sense - by Jules Walter

In this article, the author explores the concept of product sense and its importance in the field of product management. They delve into how product sense encompasses a deep understanding of customer needs, market trends, and the competitive landscape. The article also provides valuable insights on how to develop and sharpen one’s product sense through continuous learning, experimentation, and staying updated with industry advancements.
Whether you’re a seasoned product manager or aspiring to enter the field, this article offers valuable perspectives and practical tips to enhance your product sense and drive success in your role. By understanding customer needs, you can better create products that solve their problems and meet their expectations.
Additionally, staying informed about market trends allows you to anticipate changes in consumer preferences and adjust your product strategy accordingly. Finally, having a clear understanding of the competitive landscape helps you position your product effectively and identify opportunities for differentiation.
Overall, developing a strong product sense is crucial for anyone in the product management field and can greatly contribute to the success of your products and company.


Being in professional services for the product I worked on gave me a good feel for what the product was. Because I was hands-on with the software deployment, best practices strategy, and client support, I “was” the customer. Unknowingly, I picked up a lot of “don’t ever do this pattern” senses from the encounter. These experiences allowed me to understand the product from a customer’s perspective, enabling me to anticipate their needs and preferences.

Additionally, witnessing the consequences of certain actions firsthand helped me develop a strong intuition for avoiding potential pitfalls and making informed decisions. My time as a customer gave me invaluable insight into the importance of clear communication and proactive problem-solving. It also taught me the significance of establishing trust and transparency with clients to ensure a positive experience.

Overall, being on the receiving end of support and dealing with deployment challenges enabled me to become a more empathetic and knowledgeable professional in my field. These lessons have greatly impacted my approach to software development and customer satisfaction.


Having excellent customer empathy is the best way to make your product appear better or even more intelligent. To figure out how to help people solve their problems with your product, you need to know who they are, how they act, and what they do. By understanding their pain points and frustrations, I can tailor my software development process to address those specific needs and create a more user-friendly experience. Additionally, this knowledge allows me to anticipate potential challenges and proactively find solutions, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Simply pointing out areas where the products you use should be improved is another excellent method to increase your product sense. Prior to coming up with remedies, identify the sources of your frustrations and pain areas. By understanding the pain points and frustrations of your customers, you can prioritize improvements that will directly address their needs. This approach not only enhances the overall product experience but also fosters customer loyalty and satisfaction. Additionally, regularly seeking feedback from customers through surveys or user testing can provide valuable insights for further product enhancements.


Product sense is a term used to describe a particular method of dissecting user problems and formulating a plan of action for solving them. This method involves understanding the user’s needs, preferences, and pain points, as well as analyzing market trends and competitor offerings. By applying product sense, product managers can develop innovative solutions that meet user demands and drive business growth. Additionally, this approach requires a deep understanding of the product’s target audience and the ability to prioritize features based on their impact and feasibility.

Keeping a business modeling framework in mind will make this task the simplest for you to do. Additionally, you ought to prepare for your interview by using ChatGPT more. They are able to assist you in outlining the ideal procedures for Product Sense interviews. By incorporating a business modeling framework, you can analyze various aspects, such as market trends, competition, and customer needs, to develop a comprehensive product strategy. Utilizing ChatGPT can provide valuable insights and guidance on how to approach different scenarios and refine your product sense skills for interviews.

By utilizing a business modeling framework, you can effectively analyze market trends, identify user needs, and develop innovative solutions. This approach will enable you to align your product strategy with your overall business goals and maximize its potential for success. Furthermore, leveraging ChatGPT can provide valuable insights and guidance on best practices in product-sense interviews, helping you refine your problem-solving skills and enhance your overall performance during the interview process.

Business Objective → KPIs → Users → User Problems → Use Cases → Feature Design → GTM (go-to-market strategy) is a fundamental step in the product-sense process. It involves defining how the product will be launched and marketed to reach the target users. By understanding the business objective, setting key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success, identifying the target users, and understanding their specific problems, you can then formulate use cases that address those problems. From there, you can design features that align with the use cases and create a go-to-market plan to successfully launch the product.


Product Sense seems to go against what I’ve been reading in Thinking Fast and Slow, in particular the idea of “regression to the mean” that is covered throughout the book. While Thinking Fast and Slow emphasizes the concept of “regression to the mean,” Product Sense takes a different approach by focusing on understanding user needs and preferences. While regression to the mean suggests that extreme outcomes tend to be followed by more average outcomes, Product Sense acknowledges this but also emphasizes the importance of tailoring products to meet individual user requirements rather than solely relying on statistical trends. Therefore, while there may be some contrasting ideas between the two, both perspectives offer valuable insights into decision-making processes.

It sounds like expert intuition, the kind where pattern recognition begins with domain knowledge. This type of intuition allows experts to quickly identify patterns and make informed decisions based on their expertise. By combining statistical trends with individual user requirements, decision-makers can create products that not only meet the needs of the majority but also cater to the unique preferences of different users. This holistic approach can lead to more successful and user-centric product development.

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It involves detecting what the client actually needs or wants without them realizing it themselves. This kind of intuitive understanding is a skill that many successful salespeople possess. By carefully listening to the client’s concerns and desires, a skilled salesperson can identify underlying needs that may not have been explicitly expressed. This level of insight allows them to pitch products or services that cater precisely to those hidden needs, ultimately providing the client with a more satisfying and personalized solution.