Art Or Science?

So, here is my take on this classic question – is product management an art or a science?

The implied question in this debate is whether product management skills can be acquired or are product guys creative geniuses who depend on a flash going off in their heads? In my opinion a successful product manager requires both – right brained creativity skills and left brain logic skills. So, this paradigm of thinking fails, and is simply the wrong way to look at things.

A better thought framework would be the ‘Whole Brain Model‘ by Ned Herrmann. The diagram below shows this model in more detail.

whole_brain_model
Whole Brain Model

So, product management is both an art and a science. That is good and bad news for wannabe product managers. The field has artistic elements to it. So it needs considerable experience before getting into it. But it is also good news because if you’ve made it then not many others can, and you will be surrounded by people who are also whole-brainers.

Both art and science are different expressions of the same discipline – thinking! So, a product manager needs to think from multiple angles and juggle between them seamlessly. To me that skills is both art and a science.

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