Product Management 2.0: The Evolving Role of Product Managers in 2020

Hashedin

Jagriti Gupta and Gaurav Arora

19 Aug 2020

In continuation of our blog series on product management, in this blog, we will throw light on how the roles and functions of product managers have changed over time. The world is continually evolving, and so are organizational structures. Although companies are emphasizing a lot on digital revolution and customer experience, changes in their internal framework are also clearly visible. Most importantly, businesses are focusing on the long-term success that depends solely on satiating customers and the implementation of a product roadmap to stay at the top of their game. And who can ensure achieving this with utmost conviction? – Product managers. Mckinsey defines them as, “The glue that binds the many functions that touch a product—engineering, design, customer success, sales, marketing, operations, finance, legal, and more.“1

 

But are you aware that their roles have significantly changed in recent years? They were earlier driven to ideate a product and take it forward for a hassle-free launch, but now things are different.

 

2020: The Golden Age of Product Management

 

Current statistics say product management roles in the United States have augmented by a striking 32%.2 2020 is undoubtedly the golden era of this role, owing to relentless competition, fast-growing technology markets, ever-increasing customer expectations, and the growing demands from a data-driven world.  The age of digital transformation has amplified customer demands, which has led product managers to strive harder to cater and deliver excellent customer experiences and services. Thus, in the highly competitive world, making use of both quantitative and qualitative data in the product building process is of paramount importance. Here comes the role of product managers who make the fullest use of data in the product-building process, from collection to understanding and incorporation.

 

Product Manager’s Role Transformation

 

Once limited only as tech leads, UI/UX designers, or project managers, today, product managers are more than what meets the eye. Of late, they have been playing a huge role in discovering what users need, figuring out what to build, rallying the team around the definite roadmap, and championing the process as well. Product managers today not only leverage their skills towards the company’s overall product but equally work towards leaving an impact on an organization’s development and strategies.  Their involvement with the company’s growth and core policies have transformed them from being mere departmental heads or individual contributors into kingpins.
 
With increasing importance given to excellent customer service and experience, organizations are striving to stay a step ahead when it comes to bringing new changes to their structures. This is how the evolved version of the product manager’s role has come into existence, and now they are assigned more responsibilities to act towards building a more robust brand vision. According to statistics, over the last few years, the demand for senior-level PMs increased by 51% and  5x more compared to other roles.3

 

The changing role of product management4

 

Key Functions of Product Managers 


In this data-driven digital age, a product manager dons many hats. He  brings together multi-functional teams, maintains a balance among a variety of decisions, and guarantees the orientation of diverse challenges of a company. Here are some of the key responsibilities of a product manager: 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s PMs think and act like mini CEOs


It has become quite evident that product managers of today not only think, but also act like CEOs with agility. Changes in consumer behaviors, developmental methodologies of organizations, and tech or data modifications have made PMs emerge as mini CEOs. Data has become an integral part of product design, and PMs have naturally taken up the broader role here, working closely with various teams.  They work on multiple areas ranging from technology to business, with a specific focus on customers. Also, not to forget their contribution towards giving meaningful suggestions to boards, apart from feeding factual information to senior management, they’ve been seamlessly banking on opportunities and solving their problems with a more practical approach. 

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/product-management-digital-business
  2. https://blog.udacity.com/2020/03/top-trends-in-product-management.html
  3. https://www.productboard.com/blog/golden-age-of-product-management-trends/
  4. https://www.productfocus.com/product-managers-needs-lead-dont-swim-shoal/
  5. https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/product-management-digital-business

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