3 Insights From the 23′ State of Product Management Report

craft.io Team Published: 16 Jan 2023 Updated: 12 May 2023
"State of product management report 2023" written on computer screen with blue background

The 2023 State of Product Management Report has arrived! Our inaugural product survey is a tell-all expose that uncovers the true challenges, pain points and success factors of 500 product professionals from around the world.

We asked participants to open up, both about what moves the needle for their product teams, and also about what holds them back. We then collated all of those insights into one report-shaped new years’ gift package for the wider product community! Here are 3 of our favorite tidbits:

A well-defined product process sets teams up for success

We’ve heard a lot of talk in the industry about attracting top-tier product talent, or onboarding an Agile development process in order to see success in product. However, the results of our survey tell a different story. Only 7% of respondents believe that top talent is the key to product success, and even fewer product professionals think Agile is the answer. Instead, the top success factor is named as a well-defined product process.

With a well-defined (and well-followed) process in place, where you’re prioritizing effectively and you understand customer needs, you don’t necessarily need the crėme de la crėme of product teams, you can support more junior staff or those with great potential in learning how to work according to best-practices. This is a critical lesson to learn, as according to Deloitte research, 71% of CEOs are concerned about the continuing pressure of talent shortages.

Once the process is strong, only then can Agile development help you to move faster. Without the process in place, you may well be running fast, but you could be running towards failure.

Visualization is a key factor for best-in-class roadmapping

We can see the impact of a poor product process across many key product tasks. One of the areas that respondents feel has clear room for improvement is roadmapping. Almost a third of respondents feel roadmapping takes too much time, and many are frustrated that roadmapping data is always out of date and not connected to Jira.

However, the number one challenge when it comes to roadmapping is agreeing on the visualization of the roadmap, mentioned by 34% of respondents. When we looked at companies with more than 5,000 employees, this percentage leaped to 41%.

Visualization is not just about aesthetics. If you can’t see the roadmap clearly, it’s that much harder for product teams to tell the right product story. The story can be as important as the build, and according to Harvard Business Review, “Telling a compelling story is how you build credibility for yourself and your ideas. It’s how you inspire an audience and lead an organization.” Pretty important, then.

Product Operations is Now Table Stakes

Gartner called out a Product Operations role as an important factor in improving the strategic focus of Product Managers as far back as 2020, and the industry clearly took notice. The latest data from our report show that 62% of product teams already have a designated Product Operations role in place, and a further 36% have plans to hire or promote for this role during 2023. Altogether, that’s 98% who recognize its value and are acting on its promise.

According to Gartner, while traditional models for product management leant on a generalist skill set, today – these are no longer fit for purpose. Product Managers have both internal and external responsibilities, managing cross-collaboratively with other departments internally, while handling customer feedback externally for example, and a generalist skill set does not scale. The role of the product team is an immense one, with a growing amount to juggle. It’s clear that only a designated Product Ops role can meet the challenge.

We’ve just scratched the surface of the data we gleaned during this years’ survey! The full report answers questions such as:

  • What two challenges came in joint first for today’s product teams?
  • What percentage of PMs have a solid feedback collection process?
  • Is Product-Led Growth (PLG) seen as critical for the success of product?

You can download your own copy of this years’ State of Product Management Report here, and make sure to reach out directly to discuss sharpening your product process for 2023.

craft.io Team
craft.io Team