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What is a Product Sense? A Deep Dive into the Heart of Product Management

By Malay Krishna – Lead Product Manager at Vyapar

Having a product sense is the ability of product managers to consistently design products or make changes to existing products that have the intended impact on their users. Great product sense is a mixture of empathy and creativity. Empathy is when you can put yourself in the shoes of someone and understand what they feel about a situation. Creativity is your contribution to solving a problem or just understanding someone’s situation. So when product managers get product sense, they can consistently churn out products that have the intended impact that they thought. For example, if product managers set out to take a goal of increasing activation for their product, they can consistently deliver features or initiatives that move the number or whatever you had originally set out. To develop these kinds of solutions, they need to be in the middle of being very empathetic to the user and creative in the way they approach problems or solutions.

Key Takeaways:

  • iPhone, Facebook, Newsfeed, Snapchat, and TikTok are among the products with a good product sense.
  • The product sense in the creators of the iPhone was that people value aesthetics as much as they value functionality.
  • The product sense by the creators of Facebook was that everyone loves to share information about themselves. 
  • The product sense in Newsfeed was that people are okay to discuss content about what is going on in the lives of people who are with them. 
  • Snapstreak is a feature on Snapchat that is built on the premise that people like to know how long they have been in touch with their friends.
  • TikTok capitalizes on the dopamine-inducing appeal of short-form videos.

Examples of Products with Great Product Sense

iPhone

Years ago, before the age of iPhones, there was a true belief that phones were built for functionality. They were built for only basic functions like calling and messaging. iPhone was designed on the premise that people value aesthetics as much as they value functionality. The product sense in the creators of the iPhone was that people value aesthetics as much as they value functionality. It is true because in a real-life scenario, if you are going to buy a house, you will not be looking at it just as a functional aspect of your life. You will look at it from an aesthetic perspective as well. Aesthetics are the reason why people maintain their assets so well.

Facebook

When Facebook was expanding, a couple of key points of repulsion from the members were to keep it as a closed, premium group and not invite everyone from the whole world. But the product sense by the creators was that everyone loves to share information about themselves. 

Newsfeed

Newsfeed was initially perceived as very intrusive. Whatever you were doing was being shown to everyone without you even knowing about it. The product sense here was, that people are okay to discuss content about what is going on in the lives of people who are with them. 

Snapchat

Snapstreak is a feature on Snapchat that is built on the premise that people like to know how long they have been in touch with their friends, just the way we like it in real life as well.

TikTok

The product sense here is that a few seconds of TikTok videos give a sense of instant gratification by dopamine release, which leads to more consumption of the product.

In each of these examples, having a good product sense played a major role in understanding users’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, ultimately leading to the creation of products that resonate deeply with their audience. Hence, we can say that a good product sense differentiates a good product from an average one. Product managers should cultivate important skills like empathy and creativity to thoroughly understand their audience, and deliver products that not only impress users but also drive business outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having a product sense is the ability of product managers to consistently design products or make changes to existing products that have the intended impact on their users.

Great product sense is a mixture of empathy and creativity. To develop a good product sense, they need to be in the middle of being very empathetic to the user and creative in the way they approach problems or solutions.

Product sense is an important step in the product development journey. It is a very important skill for product managers to have to design products that resonate with the customers very well.

Product sense and product design are not simply the same. But they are both correlated terms. Having a good product sense helps ensure product managers design products that hit the target market well.

About the Author: 

Malay Krishna – Lead Product Manager at Vyapar

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