What’s your Mental Model as a Product Manager?

What is a Mental Model? Actually, the concept simply explains how something works. This is the framework you can visualize in your mind.

We’ve found a great article on 100productmanagers.com blog that shares the views of some great leaders. They have developed mental models we can use to better understand what is product management.

Starting with one of these models, we can help our minds better process the dynamics of our day-to-day. So here they are:

Higher Reality & Martin Eriksson

Martin Eriksson is one of the industry’s leading product management professionals and the founder of ProductTank, the world’s largest product management community.

“A good product manager must be experienced in at least one, passionate about all three, and conversant with practitioners in all” – is his quote.

According to Eriksson, product management is the intersection between the functions of business, technology and user experience. In his model, the product manager is in the middle of everything.

Zoom Out Perspective & Daniel Zarcarias

Daniel Zarcarias is the Product Management Consultant of Substantive, where he helps teams define a product vision, strategy, roadmap and product management process that follows best practices.

With the help of the Eriksson’s model as a reference, Daniel invites us to zoom out and understand our place within a much bigger context. He suggests that the intersection of business, technology, and design is really just a microcosm of the intersection between product and customers.

According to the author, product managers must always remember that their role is to look outward at least as much as we look inward. Although the product delivery process is noisier and demands a lot of attention, Zarcaris wants us to keep in mind that our job is to create value for our customers and consequently, for the business. We’re in the “middle of the middle of everything.”

The New Skill Model & Matt LeMay

Matt LeMay has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 enterprises.

In his book, Product Management in Practice, he introduces the acronym CORE (Communication, Organization, Research, and Execution) to explain and summarize what we actually do (or should be doing) all day.

The author calls CORE the “soft skills” of product management and prioritizes their mastery over “hard skills” like engineering or quality assurance.

Mental models can help us to navigate the ambiguity of our jobs and, with experience over time, we may begin to adapt our own models.Which of the models do you like more? What’s your Mental model?

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