Product judgementHow to acquire product judgementDirect experiences with customersUse the product yourselfDomain knowledge
From Intercom (long-form but useful advice):
Also known as Product Intuition or Product Instinct or Product Taste, it is the idea that you can use your own judgment to (1) accurately predict what your customers need, want and value, and (2) design and ship the right solution for them.
To be a good product person, you need to have good product judgement to make better product decisions. But this area is subjective. You might have two people with strong judgement disagreeing with each other.
How do you know if you have a product judgement?
- You're able to decide on a design solution that is best for customers because you understand how the features, flows and customer paths come together in the product
- You're able to decide which features to work on and find the right balance of features to ship. Descope and prioritise where necessary to ensure the most valuable items get shipped out first
No one is born with product judgement. It takes time to build and strengthen a strong product judgement.
Some things don't change because they're rooted in human psychology. These things can be learned through case studies and good books, but it's still best to see them applied in real life by real customers.
- Talk to your actual customers (new, existing, those who left) and observe them while they use your product. Do this often.
- How they use your product
- Their perception of your product
- Indirect means don't work as well, e.g. feature requests, survey data, recordings or reports from your customer success or sales team. You must talk to the customers yourself to get the best judgement
- Deeply understand the product yourself - how all the flows come together and supposed to work. When you do, you can better understand what your customers are trying to do
No one can have strong product judgement on all products as it's very domain/industry-specific.
Even though some (similar) domain knowledge can be transferable, you should still know your limits so you can quickly build up your product judgement on the new product.