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.
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.
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.