I read a post recently in the Austin Product Managment Yahoo Group stating that Product Managers should not know their products. The author’s theory is that PdM’s who know their product will not be able to effectively manage their product.
“In a nutshell, the more product knowledge you have, the less product management you’re doing because your product knowledge gets you sucked in to a plethora of non product management issues.”
I disagree with his underlying premise that product knowledge and product management are incompatible. I think a good product manager does need to know their product, but as important, they need discipline. As it turns out, the author partially agrees with me.
“Product managers need to know their products, but not so well that they mortgage their ability to lead others, influence key decisions and articulate value.”
However, he appears to believe that once a PdM has too much product knowledge, the discipline needed to perform the duties listed above is lost. While it may make being a PdM harder, it doesn’t make it impossible. In the end, a PdM with strong knowledge of their product and discipline to excute their responsiblities is a winning combination.