We all know “cats people” and “dogs people.” It’s not that one cannot be ‘OK’ with both cats and dogs, but secretly there is usually a preference towards one more than the other.
Now let me introduce you to the “Lego people” and “Playmobil people.”
In Playmobil, the building blocks are set in a certain shape and form. There is a limited amount of building to do. You need to grab them and play.
In Lego, on the other hand, you have building blocks that are set in a certain form to build whatever in that Lego box you bought, but you can also re-arrange them and create something new altogether.
A Playmobil pirate ship is always a pirate ship while a Lego pirate ship can turn into a futuristic spaceship, an amusement park or anything your imagination can turn it into.
In our professional world of Product Design and Development, we usually encounter the Lego people and the Playmobil people, only we usually not characterize them as such. We meet the ones that are better setting things up, arranging, following the schema, and the ones that are more busy inventing, imagining and re-arranging.
In the Product Manager context, I would call it the ‘Execution Oriented’ PM and the ‘Visionary’ PM.
However it is not only relevant for Product Management but to other parties in the Greater Product Team; SW Developers, Solution Architects and even QA Engineers. In all these domains you can see the ones that are focused on the ‘here and now’ and the ones that mainly see the next challenge ahead.
What is better? None. Both are needed! You cannot have one and not the other.
It is important to recognize the difference between the two types of people across the team, identify each person and create the right mix for optimum.