Facebook EmaiInACirclel
Software Development

5 Product Management Trends to Follow in 2022

Silviu-Vasile Dima
Silviu-Vasile Dima
Product Owner

The world we live in, and especially the world of technology, is constantly evolving, from advanced AI, Machine Learning, FinTech, and Cryptocurrency to Robotics and RPA. It may often feel like we are losing the battle to stay relevant to our target markets.

Not only has the world changed, but so have customers. They have now many different needs, more choices, and all kinds of distractions. To stay relevant and attract clients, products must keep up with trends and leverage new features and benefits.

But as they say, with change comes opportunity. To thrive, companies must become resilient in this fast-paced, ever-changing environment. And so do the people who choose the product management profession. Product Managers/Product Owners need to constantly re-invent themselves, adapt to the new reality, and cultivate a continuous-learning mindset.

Product Managers face a renewed set of challenges and a list of obstacles that continue to be shaped by pandemic aftershocks.

Before we go through the 2022 product management trends, we need to mention that there is no consistency in how the Product Manager and the Product Owner job titles are used in the market. Some might say that the Product Owner is a role that depends on the Agile Scrum framework and that the Product Manager drives the strategic vision of the product. In this article, we will not get into the semantics of the term, and for the rest of the post, we will use the title Product Manager to cover both terms.

Product Management Trends to Follow in 2022

#1. The demand for Product Managers and for freelancing work is growing

Markets have shifted in ways no one could have expected: working from home has become “the new normal”, with consumer spending habits transformed as a result of the pandemic, and non-digital businesses expanding their product focus to the digital world.

In the past two years, we have seen a global increase in interest for product teams, with Product Managers remaining in the spotlight as value maximizers and change agents in charge of product-centric business growth. This position requires a more robust skill set, and we expect to see growing specialization of Product Managers in areas such as AI Product Management, Personalization, and Data Product Management.

There are many courses and certification programs designed to help Product Managers become more specialized and advance in their careers. Organizations that invest in reskilling and upskilling their product teams become more resilient to future market challenges and increase their capacity to quickly adapt their products to meet the ever-increasing market demand for quality and convenience.

The transition to remote work led to building a distributed workforce. Remote agile product teams will continue to thrive in 2022 and beyond, as most companies have already adopted a hybrid model of remote/office work, and flexible work arrangements have become the standard for employees in key industries.

More employee freedom around their location has made highly-skilled Product Managers and Product Owners choose freelancing rather than a full-time hire.

Besides the obvious cost-savings for companies due to downsizing their office space, there is also a huge benefit related to the hiring process: fully remote work positions give companies a much bigger pool of viable candidates.

By removing the constraint on commuting distance and switching to fully remote work, IT companies lean more on freelancers and independent contractors to fill in the gaps in highly skilled product professionals.

With the increased availability of freelancers, companies are already relying more on assessment platforms like SkillValue to help with the process of hiring freelance professionals.

#2. The product becomes the primary driver of customer acquisition and retention

Although it may be interesting to discuss how to leverage technical skills, the focus of a Product Manager should not solely be on technology, but rather on developing the product to adapt to evolving user needs.

Today, Product Managers use less and less the “digital strategy” buzzword from previous years. Instead, they have shifted to discussing “organization strategy” and “transformation in a digital world” empowered by digital capabilities, with a deep focus on the customer and their product’s higher purpose.

As a result, users have new ways to buy and use products. They have become more tech-savvy and expect the very best shopping experience at the most affordable price.

Product-led growth will have a lot of traction in 2022. As the author of “Product-Led Growth”, Wes Bush, writes:

“Product-led growth is defined as a go-to-market strategy that relies on using your product as the main vehicle to acquire, activate, and retain customers.”

According to this strategy, unlike sales-led companies whose focus is on the sales cycle and closing the sale, product-led companies focus on outstanding user experience. All the various components, like customer acquisition, conversion, and retention are driven by the product itself.

Becoming a product-led company is a process that starts with a mindset shift, creating a company-wide alignment between all departments with a commitment to building a well-designed product that delivers on its promise.

The product-led strategy relies on a free trial model to sell product to customers. This model allows users to experience the product without going through the usual sales-led cycle.

Together with agile development processes, this philosophy allows a company to have shorter cycles to launch new features and gather feedback from customers, improving their delivery pipeline.

Product-led growth taps into user data to provide helpful personalized product experiences, adapting the experience at the individual level – which leads us to the next trend: “Data-driven product management”.

#3. Product management is data-driven

Due to working with a larger-than-ever volume of data and the need for personalization through the use of AI, we see increased attention on data governance with a focus on privacy and security. For this reason, there is a significant rise in data management platforms, and product ops functions are widely spreading.

Data-driven product management helps Product Managers use the right data, uncover insights, and ultimately, build a successful product.

Ai-based analytics are used widely in corporate evidence-based decision-making processes. Product managers have started to understand the importance of data-driven development and are taking advantage of it, through the use of AI predictive behavior data, by offering personalized user experience.

Considering the wealth of available user data, a question pops up – what additional skills do product teams need to acquire in 2022 to properly manage their data and to exploit it for the delivery of future positive customer outcomes?

#4. Low-Code/No-Code platforms are on the rise

With digital transformation at the forefront of business’s strategy, most small and midsize companies have replaced non-digital processes with digital ones, rapidly building applications without the overhead of hiring costly developers.

Low-Code/No-Code platforms provide a development environment to quickly build an application using a graphical user interface that involves very little or no coding at all. Another good use for Low/No-Code platforms is to rapidly build prototypes that inspire user feedback for your products.

According to Gartner research, the use of Low-Code and No-Code technologies will nearly triple by 2025, with application development shifting to application assembly and integration by the teams that use them.

This trend helps solve the shortage of skilled IT professionals and decreases the cost of software development, although it might not be for everyone.

There are some limitations related to the capabilities of these platforms in terms of customization, security, and compliance for consumer data. Also, they are not suited for very complex applications. However, companies that manage to overcome these problems will reap major benefits in the medium term.

Count on Pentalog’s experienced Product Owners to help you inject the right dose of agility into your development team.

#5. Product management and collaboration tools continue to evolve

Product teams need multiple agile product management tools to manage their day-to-day activities, including road-mapping, managing product releases, user onboarding, user tracking, feature prioritization and stakeholder management.

Product management tools continue to improve and adapt with the Product Manager’s changing role and responsibilities. And keeping everyone in the loop – stakeholders, product teams, and customers – is paramount.

These new tools, such as monday.com, productboard.com, productplan.com, help improve team collaboration, focusing on understanding user behavior, prioritizing and sharing decisions, forecasting resources, and creating dynamic stakeholder reporting.

Conclusion

For Product Managers, complexity continues to increase in all areas, from Continuous Product Discovery and gathering feedback to incremental releases of new features or improvements.

While this is true for Product Managers, the good news is that for customers, SaaS products are becoming more convenient and easier to use. Some of the main reasons include widespread adoption of the product-led growth philosophy, and use of Low/No Code platforms for rapid application development.

Product Managers nowadays wear many hats and need to possess broad knowledge of a large number of different topics. However, with the role evolving and the future changing before our eyes, we foresee an increase in specialization of the role, especially in larger companies. For smaller organizations, the role will continue to be “generalist”, with the increasing number of Product Management courses and training programs focusing on a cross-disciplinary approach to prove it.

Some trends that started recently will prevail in 2022 and beyond. Data-driven decision-making will stay in the top three skills that Product Managers must have. The Product Manager of the future will be an analytics specialist, carefully tracking product metrics to identify opportunities, improving poor-performing features, and facilitating rapid development of innovative products.

Whether you need a Product Owner for product discovery, or to coordinate development efforts, or to fuel growth marketing initiatives, our experts cover the entire scope of agile product development. Contact us!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *