Fuel Digital Business With Product Management

Use product management to stay ahead of fast-moving digital competition.

Digital business requires a new approach to product management. In leading enterprises, product management teams now serve as problem solvers and innovators, driving continuous improvement to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers. Agile product management teams drive digital transformation as enterprises continue to ride the waves of digital disruption

By 2023, 80% of IT organizations will experience radical restructuring and mission change to embrace the product management operating model

“Now that all businesses are digital businesses, all enterprises should plan and begin to execute this transition to more agile product delivery teams,” says Deacon D.K. Wan, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “The majority of digital business leaders have already begun to pivot their organizations from project to product portfolio management, and this shift will continue through 2020.”

By 2023, 80% of IT organizations will experience radical restructuring and mission change to embrace the product management operating model. As product management teams begin to develop more advanced capabilities, hiring and developing the right mix of talent will be essential for maximizing product success. 

IT leaders can prepare for the future of product management and create effective teams that fuel digital business in three ways. 

The CIO Executive Communication Guide

Speak the language of the C-suite to communicate the business value of IT

Download eBook

Continuously develop digital product management practices and skills

Over the next five years, the role of product management will continue to evolve. Product managers face changes in: 

  • Operating philosophy, as they increasingly work with different business stakeholders and employ “design thinking,” while delivering products that rapidly evolve based on data-driven insights.
  • Continuous practices, as new immersive media devices and touchpoints (multiexperience technology) evolve to deepen continuous customer engagements and insights, requiring continuous delivery of products.
  • Resources, as product line budgeting and product-centric organizations enable greater business agility.

As this change is an ongoing process, preparing for the future of product management means planning to operate with agility. Focus on building lean, cross-functional product management teams composed of “versatilists” who can support one another as these changes occur. 

Read more: Analysts Answer: What Challenges Will Product Marketers Face in 2020?

Shape your talent development program for digital opportunities

Evolve skill sets to suit the changing needs of digital product teams. In the future, digital product management will require advanced skills in areas such as data analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), data- and API-based platform business models, and multiexperience design.

To prepare for the new requirements of digital business, shape your talent development program to equip product managers to:

  • Maintain near-real-time connections with developers and business stakeholders with the aid of product management and roadmapping tools.
  • Work closely with agile team product owners to ensure they fully understand the product vision and pursue its realization in the decisions they make every day. 
  • Draw on insights from customer problems, user-testing feedback, and other data and analytics.
  • Work with business stakeholders who employ design thinking to maximize products’ impact in solving customer and business problems.

Find the right blend of business and IT skills for your company’s specific needs, and help develop teams that innovate like entrepreneurs. Encourage product managers and product teams to share a common, customer-centric culture.

Devise new approaches to sourcing versatile product managers

It’s challenging to find candidates with the skills to be the digital product managers of the future. Find new ways to attract and hire people who understand your company’s customers, the value proposition for its digital products, and the context and strategy required to make those products stand out.

Cast your hiring net widely to include both internal and external candidates. Look for individuals with customer-centric attitudes and strong communication skills, and favor those with a business mindset and background. 

Consider alternative sources of talent. Internally, look at candidates from departments such as customer service, consulting or technical sales. External possibilities could include influential customers, developers who participate in hackathons or contractors employed by partners who want a more settled life with better benefits. Identify an entry-level talent pool through campus recruiting. 

As product managers join your enterprise, ensure knowledge sharing to sustain and support the growing product management practice.

This article has been updated from the original, published on March 5, 2019, to reflect new events, conditions or research.

Gartner clients can read more in Prepare Now for the Future of Digital Product Management by Deacon D.K. Wan.

Get Smarter

Gartner CIO Conferences

Learn about CIO leadership and how to lead your enterprise through its digital journey.

Explore Gartner Conferences

View Free, Relevant Gartner Research

Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.

Read Free Gartner Research

Webinars

Get actionable advice in 60 minutes from the world's most respected experts. Keep pace with the latest issues that impact business.

Start Watching