Against frameworks: a whole person approach to product management

Frameworks are such a part of product management that a google search returns 87,400,000 results. There’s even a website dedicated to product management frameworks.

Frameworks are essentially a shortcut to thinking. Want to prioritise features? There’s a framework for that. Want to create a roadmap? There’s a framework for that. Need to rank customer problems? There’s a framework for that.

Maybe product management depends too much on too many frameworks and abstract concepts and not enough on developing the thinking skills to understand what problem the product manager is trying to solve and create a corresponding and relevant solution.

A whole-person approach to product management would place greater emphasis on developing the more fundamental skills of cognitive, emotional, and social skills. It would encompass aspects of the identity of the product manager and how that affects their ability to do their job well. The whole person approach to learning has been shown to be effective in family businesses, MBA programs, and in care settings, and could be applied to product management learning and development.