Only 55% of all product launches take place on schedule, according to the 2019 product manager survey* from Gartner, Inc. Product managers who typically launch on time are more likely to meet their internal targets within a year of launch. For the 45% of product launches that are delayed, 20%, on average, fail to meet their internal targets.
“A product launch that meets all internal targets is seldom achieved. The survey showed that only 11% of organizations reported that all of their products met 100% of defined internal launch targets,” said Adrian Lee, senior research director at Gartner. “Product managers who run late with product launches need to be keenly aware that this situation will directly increase the risk of increasing the failure rates.”
A product may not launch in the scheduled time frame due to several factors, including lack of formal launch processes, delays in product development (bugs, errors, feature creep), failure to meet customer requirements, product quality or even supply problems.
Successful product managers can sometimes mitigate these issues ensuring an on-time launch. Product managers can evaluate the effectiveness of their product management strategy and organization using the Gartner Product Score for Product Management, a strategic planning tool for product management leaders. This tool allows product managers to determine where improvements will add value and top establish a plan to advance the organization.
Product managers largely see themselves as responsible for managing the launch of and creating the strategy around products. Forty-six percent of product managers said they are responsible for managing the planning, development and introduction phases of a product, while 39% of survey respondents said creating a product strategy and planning and building product roadmaps were key responsibilities.
However, the survey found that 78% of product managers who viewed improving collaboration internally as one of their top three roles, experienced low product failure rates. Technology and service provider (TSP) organizations that don’t make collaboration a priority for their product managers may be jeopardizing product success.
“The product manager role is one of the most cross-functional in the organization. This is especially true at the product introduction phase when other functions such as marketing, sales, sales enablement and finance come into play,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, senior research director at Gartner. “However, the survey showed that fewer than 20% of organizations see their product managers as driving innovation or improving collaboration within the company.”
Product managers seeking to collaborate to drive business should ensure they communicate their product vision and roadmap across all the other stakeholders in the company. This should happen early on and repeatedly in the product life cycle to allow for possible revisions based on feedback gathered from stakeholders.
The first annual Gartner Product Manager Survey explored the most pressing mission-critical priorities that product managers have identified and will be pursuing in the coming year. The survey of 205 product managers in the U.S., China, India, Canada, the U.K., France, Germany and Australia was conducted online between December 2018 and February 2019.
Gartner clients can read more in the reports “Survey Data: Gartner’s Annual Product Manager Survey, 2019,” “Product Managers Improve Collaboration and Drive Lower Product Failure Rates” and “Product Managers Delivering On-Time Launches Significantly Reduce Product Failure Rates.”
The Gartner Product Management Score extends the Gartner Product Management framework by providing a way for companies to assess their maturity across five key initiatives and 22 core topics that product managers must deliver on. Gartner clients can learn more in “Product Management Score.”
Additional information on the Product Management Score can be found in the complimentary Gartner webinar “A New Way to Assess and Improve Product Management Team Skills” and at https://www.gartner.com/en/industries/high-tech/product-management-leaders.