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Product Management in 2017: What Does the Future Hold?

September 16, 2016 | By Jeff Lash

  • SiriusDecisions has identified five planning assumptions that should drive the agenda of product management leaders in 2017
  • Addressing these areas can help establish and reinforce product management’s role as a strategic leader within the organization
  • Learn more about these trends by downloading the SiriusDecisions Product Management Planning Assumptions for 2017

Product management is sometimes referred to as a “next year” job. Because of typical product development timelines and sales cycles, the results of the product management team's labors might not be reflected in revenue and customer satisfaction numbers until the following year. 

It’s usually around this time of year when product management leaders begin to develop their plans for the following calendar year. While individual product managers may be considering their product’s roadmap and product development priorities, product management leaders should be looking at the overall big picture for insights what the future holds for the product management function. 

It is with this in mind that SiriusDecisions has compiled our Product Management Planning Assumptions for 2017, which covers five key areas product management leaders should focus on to enable improvements in product performance during the coming year. To learn the details of the full report, please download a copy of the SiriusDecisions Product Management Planning Assumptions or sign up for our October 18th webcast, where I’ll be discussing these trends in full.

Here’s a summary of the five key trends product management leaders should be focusing on in 2017:

  • Organizational: centralizing the product management function. With more organizations moving away from portfolios consisting of disparate offerings to coordinated audience-focused solutions, centralizing the product management function is one way to facilitate successful execution of an audience-focused strategy.
  • Process: implementing a consistent process to understand customer needs. In many cases, product management leaders simply tell their product managers to “get out of the office and spend time with customers” without providing guidance, coaching or training. One way to ensure that product teams are fully able to execute a customer-focused strategy is by implementing a consistent best-in-class process to understand customer needs.
  • Measurement: operationalizing pricing. Companies’ movement from offering on-premise software to offering software-as-a-service solutions – and toward subscription-based revenue models – has revealed the need to not only determine the right pricing model, but to also monitor how pricing is performing in real-world conditions.
  • Interlock: sales management. Product management leaders have many internal stakeholders to manage, but one area that has been neglected (much to everyone’s detriment) is the relationships not just with individual salespeople, but with first-line direct and channel sales managers.
  • Technology: managing product ideas. Product managers have always had to manage multiple sources of input for product ideas, and though idea management technologies are not new, they are becoming more mature and more widely used by product management teams.

Are these trends on your radar? How are they impacting you? Please leave us a comment below – and don’t forget to download a copy of the SiriusDecisions Product Management Planning Assumptions or sign up for our October 18th webcast where I’ll be covering these trends in more detail!

Jeff Lash

Jeff Lash is Vice President and Group Director of Go-to-Market at SiriusDecisions, where he leads the Product Management and Portfolio Marketing Research and Advisory Services. A recognized thought leader in product management, he has over 15 years of experience in product management, product development, product marketing, and user experience design. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @jefflash.