2012 Product Management Predictions

With years of experience in Product Management and a love of the professional domain, Brainmates took to predicting the top Product Management trends that will directly affect you as a Product Managers in 2012.

Prediction 1 – Roles within Product Management will become more specialised.

Product Management covers a wide range of activities. In 2012 we expect to see further clarification and specialisation around the different areas of expertise. Product Marketing will focus on better understanding the market, the buyers and the users, while Product Experience will focus on exploring the high level through to detailed market needs to facilitate the creation of products that customers love. Technical Product Managers will be in demand to synthesize the creation of a product solution, such as at Google. Product Operations will address the day to day tactical activities that are required to maintain the ‘business’ of the product in the market. With ongoing economic instability and talk of another recession, the recruitment of specialized Product Managers will assist companies that are looking for efficiencies across their business.

Prediction 2 -Demand for formal accreditation of Product Management expertise will increase along with the role specialisation.

Traditionally the role and responsibilities of a Product Manager has been more of a ‘journey of discovery’ – whereby tools and techniques and the way of doing things has been passed down by the previous Product Manager or Product Director. However with increasing awareness and integration of the function into businesses across all industries, a common language and methodologies are beginning to emerge. Combine this with the increasing number of courses being offered in Product Management – we will start to see an increase in demand for formal PM training and certification.

Prediction 3 – Product Managers will continue to shift to hypothesis based testing of the market place well before product development commences.

When resources were more abundant and market confidence was high, businesses could afford to put multiple product ideas into the market to see which ones succeeded and which ones failed, with the expectation that the successes would cover the cost of the failures.

In 2012, however budgets have been cut and there is the fear of another recession, businesses are seeking more certainty in their product investments. In response to this pressure we will see a trend toward hypothesis testing in Product Management. The key difference will be that Product Managers will need to have a hypothesis before the start of the market research and exploration stage. The testing and validation of these hypotheses will deliver focused, faster and more cost effective market feedback at the potential cost of delaying the start of development and launch.