Peek Inside: Everyone Has Product Sense
Think about a product that you use every day. Could you explain to someone what you like about it?
Imagine being trapped at a party and your neighbor, Bill, is talking your ear off about his new leaf blower. Now, Bill is not a PM, he’s an insurance agent, but between his personal leaf-blowing preferences and his actual knowledge of every facet and function of his blower, he actually has a pretty good product sense about the leaf-blowing product that he owns.
You, along with billions of other consumers, buy and use products every day. Choosing one product from your life and discussing it shouldn’t feel so daunting . . . you know what the product is and why and how you use it. Most people could easily name a product and state one or two things that they like about it, but only someone with a PM mindset (and carefully honed product sense) would be delighted to expound on the details of that product for a full forty-five-minute interview.
As you progress through preparing for interviews at most tech companies, you’ll encounter “product sense” interview questions, which typically require you to break down, deconstruct, or otherwise design a part of a product. This is usually the most common type of interview question used to evaluate a PM’s ability to succeed in a Product role. We agree that aptitude for “product thinking” is part of an individual’s product sense, but our goal through this book is to explore the entirety of what encapsulates a PM’s ability as it relates to the entire PM role. Our thesis is that a PM’s product sense encompasses not only the ability to design and create new features and products, but also to optimize, execute, and lead within a product development organization.
Our hope is that, by reading this book, you will strengthen your overall product ability—your product sense—and come to understand the full scope of strong product management and what life is like for product managers on a day-to-day basis. We aim to provide you with an overall understanding of product management and how that applies across different companies, industries, and products—while simultaneously helping you to adopt a PM mindset, so you can begin to see how you would approach the PM role you are seeking