March 14, 2022
March 14, 2022
Contributor: Robert Snow
To remain a high-performing asset in the future, product managers must expand their functional skills by relinquishing the traditional practices and adopting a broader perspective.
Faced with new tools, capabilities and a deeper focus on customer outcomes over business outputs, the role of a product manager has significantly evolved, but it needs to evolve further.
Historically, organizations valued technical and execution-oriented skills in product management roles and positioned product managers as responsible for the interests of engineering and development teams. While technical skills to perform tactical delivery of features and capabilities remain necessary, there is an emerging need for more leadership, planning and data analysis skills, along with a more nuanced understanding of business operations.
Download now: How Technology Product Leaders Can Drive Revenue Growth
“The evolution of product management skills challenges the traditional Venn diagram of customer, technology and business, and supports a much broader, more specific, cross-domain view of the types of skills that product managers need to demonstrate in their work,” says Clifton Gilley, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner.
We see these interpersonal and technical skills growing in relevance as we move toward 2025:
The product manager of 2025 will look very different from the product manager of 2020. Your role will become more focused on outcomes and strategic planning, and skills such as storytelling, empathy and strategic alignment will become keys to success, more so than tactical considerations that may fall to product owner or product operations roles. There will be a greater emphasis on bringing the “voice of the customer” and an “outside-in” perspective to the business, and product management will become a role largely rooted in customer data analytics and insights.
Organizations need to reimagine the skills, talents, role definitions and team structures that separate exceptional product managers from the pack. Far too many organizations use a simple seniority-based career progression, rather than one based on the development of new skills or expansion of authority within the organization. The latter approach is advantageous because it gives a complete picture of the skills required to improve the hiring process and team composition. With this, organizations can restructure the product management team to include more specialists with a specific set of skills rather than generalists who attempt to do everything.
To ensure product managers gain or maintain an edge, product management teams, moving toward 2025, should:
Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.
Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:
Future-Proof Your Product Management Skills
Product Management Must Take Back the Role of Product Owner
Create a Product Operations Role to Improve the Strategic Focus of Product Managers
*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.