Product Management: The Perfect Blend of Human Science and Computer Science

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Feb 12, 2024

3 min read


Product Management: The Perfect Blend of Human Science and Computer Science

In the world of product management, there is an ongoing debate about whether it is more of a human science or a computer science. While it is true that product management requires a solid understanding of both the technical and human aspects, I believe that it leans more towards being a human science than a computer science.

One of the key reasons for this belief is the importance of reasoning in product management. The best product teams are the ones that make reasoning their glue and the key to every piece of work they touch. This ability to make decisions independently, without being controlled or micro-managed, should be the norm. When teams are given the autonomy to make their own decisions, they become more engaged and motivated in their work. This engagement leads to better outcomes and innovative solutions.

Furthermore, the success of product management relies heavily on effective communication and collaboration across teams. How well can teams sync with each other? Can they work together seamlessly, despite their different backgrounds and expertise? These are questions that product managers need to address. By designing a work environment that encourages collaboration and empowers teams, product managers can create a playground that is both safe and challenging. It is in this environment that the fun, learning, and innovation truly take place.

However, there are also some pitfalls that product managers need to be aware of. One of these is the trap of combining seemingly innocent traits that can lead to disastrous outcomes. Take the example of confidence and patience. Individually, these traits are admirable and can contribute to success. But when combined, they often form stubbornness, which can be a disaster. Confidence that you are right gives you permission to ignore signs that you may be wrong, and patience gives you permission to prolong that denial indefinitely. It is important to recognize the balance between confidence and patience and not let them lead to a false sense of certainty.

Similarly, it is crucial to understand that individuals who think in unique and innovative ways may also have ideas that are not as admirable. In successful businesses, there are often two types of people: the idea generators and the idea critics. The right balance is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being able to acknowledge when to push forward with an idea and when to let it go. It is important to be open to feedback and constructive criticism, as it is through this process of refining ideas that the best solutions are found.

In conclusion, product management is a field that requires a balance between human science and computer science. While technical knowledge is essential, it is the human aspects of reasoning, collaboration, and self-awareness that truly drive success in this field. To excel in product management, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Foster a culture of autonomy and decision-making within your teams. Trust your team members to make informed decisions and provide them with the necessary support and resources.
  • 2. Encourage open communication and collaboration across teams. Create an environment where ideas can be freely shared and constructively critiqued.
  • 3. Develop self-awareness and recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Embrace feedback and be open to refining your ideas and strategies.

By incorporating these practices into your product management approach, you can create a more effective and innovative team that is capable of tackling any challenge that comes their way. Remember, product management is ultimately about finding the perfect balance between the human and technical aspects, and it is in this balance that true success lies.

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