7 characteristics of the Sherlock Holmes Product Manager

One of the most talked-about fictional detectives, Sherlock Holmes, is famous for using logic and astute observation to solve cases. Holmes used the logical process known as abduction, which is based on inference from observation, where the conclusion is drawn may not always necessarily be true.

The role of Product Manager is similar to Sherlock Holmes, where he needs to wear a detective hat to discover opportunities, find evidence in support of those opportunities using his logical reasoning skills based on limited data.

Once the opportunity is identified, he needs to work with multiple solutions(suspects) and find evidence about which solution should be implemented to meet the desired outcome.

Sherlock Holmes PM Characteristics

Sherlock Holmes is known for the below characteristics, which are essential for the Product Manager.

  1. Extremely Logical

Sherlock Holmes was known for his amazing logical skills. He used abduction so effectively that his conclusions were almost always true, and people often called it deduction1.

PM needs to use his logical reasoning skills to determine conclusions from available information. This information is mostly unstructured, cluttered. He needs to use Abductive reasoning to determine conclusions, which guide development teams.

2. Scrappy

Similar to holmes, which was untidy and messy with everything he doesn’t care about, such as his flat papers, PM needs to be scrappy in his solutions to ensure he is quickly evaluating them against his abductive conclusions to remove untrue conclusions as early as possible.

3. Fastidious

Holmes takes everything he cares about very seriously. He doesn’t care about how he dresses or Mrs. Hudson’s wallpaper, but he cares deeply about chemical tests and bee-keeping. Every single one of Holmes’ hobbies is impeccably carried out.

PM must focus on things that matter to his user, opportunities, and product while keeping distractions and noise unrelated to opportunities and solutions away.

4. Emotional Intelligence

Holmes doesn’t allow his emotion to take over. he is master in using them to his advantage.

As PM is a person without authority in the development team. He should be emotionally intelligent to connect with his team to influence them towards the desired outcome.

5. Excellent observation skills

It is simplicity itself … my eyes tell me that on the inside of your left shoe, just where the firelight strikes it, the leather is scored by six almost parallel cuts. Obviously they have been caused by someone who has very carelessly scraped round the edges of the sole in order to remove crusted mud from it. Hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-slitting specimen of the London slavey.

PM needs to observe his user behavior to understand major needs, opportunities that could add value. This needs excellent observation skills and processing those observations in opportunities, which product teams could further explore.

6. Humor

Holmes believed that he was humorous (at least in his personal view 🙂).

A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done

-President Dwight David Eisenhower

Humor builds bonds, defuses tension, boosts innovation, and bolsters resilience through hard times, which could help PM produce desired results with the team.

7. Remain Practical and Grounded

i might be on the side of angel but don’t think for even for a moment that I am one of them.

- Sherlock Holmes

PM must always remain practical to change his approach based on new evidence and show ownership of the result.

When an idea succeeds, it is the team’s effort; when it fails, it is the product manager.

A product Manager embracing these 7 characteristics could be a champion detective who constantly finds relevant evidence to make the right conclusions to achieve the desired results.




Product Developer | Agilist | Coach | Learner | I write about Product development, leadership and innovation

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Prakash Inani

Prakash Inani

Product Developer | Agilist | Coach | Learner | I write about Product development, leadership and innovation

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