Future of Product Management

To whom or what does the future of product management belong?  Is it AI solutions taking over the function? Is it virtual reality tools that can conceive and prototype products in seconds? Is it new crowdsourcing tools to get Voice of the Customer instantaneously?

As a classically trained marketer turned leading executive recruiter for marketing and product management executives, I am often asked what trends I see in the market. While there are many interesting new trends and technologies that are advancing the product management practice.  There is no one magic bullet.  The one common factor I do see is that savvy product management leaders build and foster intellectually curious teams.

What does it mean to build an intellectually curious team? It means that leaders reward product managers who think outside the box.  It means instead of telling the team what discrete things to do, leaders tell their team what the objective is and encourage them to come up with creative solutions.  It means leaders helping to remove organizational barriers to change so new ideas can develop and grow.

Of course, building this intellectually curious team begins with intellectually curious personnel. Trust me, as a marketing recruiter that has interviewed thousands of product managers across many industries, this is a rarer characteristic than one might think. So how does one tease this out during the interview process?  One of my favorite questions to ask is “Why?” For example, if a candidate says, “I created product X and it was a huge success”, I will ask “Why did you create it?”, “Why was it a success?”, etc.  By asking why, a hiring manager can learn whether the candidate was merely following orders or if they had the savvy to take an insight and create something meaningful and new.

Stop worrying about which tool to incorporate to drive your product management success.  Start thinking about how you are building an intellectually curious product management team.

The Future of Product Management Belongs to YOU!