To be a great Product Manager, you need to know your product really well.

One of the best ways to learn the product is to use it. Try things out. See how different parts of the product fit together.

I think that you should push things further, and behave as a tester.

Start with the “happy path”. Try out a customer journey such as onboarding or changing your details. Fill in every field with data that you expect to go through successfully.

Was the process quick and easy to follow? Were there any unnecessary steps or did you run into problems?

Next, try to deviate from the happy path. Try submitting without filling anything in. Fill in wrong details, such as letters in a numeric field, dates in the past or future when they shouldn’t be allowed, or special characters such as quotes. Put too many characters into a field (if it lets you) – or not enough.

See if you can break it, and how things are fed back to the user if something does go wrong.

How are issues handled? Finding the one field you missed in a long form can be frustrating. Allowing a user to submit missing or invalid data can cause bigger problems down the line – such as screens showing errors or not displaying at all.

If it’s not ok to test in production (in many companies it isn’t, but check first), you could start testing on a dedicated test or demo site. Give your product team a heads up first so you can find out the best place to test. If you do use a test site, it’s helpful to have an environment that’s representative of production, so you can have confidence that you’re getting the type of results you’d see for real.

By investing the time to test your product, you can identify opportunities for improvement as well as problem areas. You might find bugs before a user spots them. And you’ll ultimately boost your understanding of the product. It’s worth considering.

Photo by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash