Product Management Trends and Challenges in 2022 – A Product Coach Perspective With Lisa Mo Wagner

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News30 Nov 3 mins read Tomas Prochazka

Recent airfocus research with product managers in the US and UK found that adopting product-led growth models was the main industry challenge for 40% of respondents. 

It’s something that we’ve been hearing more and more over the past 18 months and it’s a topic that’s certain to come up in our upcoming roundtable - Product Management Trends and Challenges in 2022.

We have asked each roundtable participant to write a blog post ahead of the event and next up is Lisa Mo Wagner, product coach at codecentric AG.

Read on to learn her take on product management trends for 2022.  

Adapting to product-led growth

Like many people in product management, I ended up in the sector by accident rather than design!

I had a role in a tech firm that included elements of product management. I enjoyed that, and it’s officially been my job for six years now.

At codecentric, I’m a product coach. I work with our tech clients to help them do the best possible work around product.

What I’m seeing increasingly are organizations trying to be more product-led.

Product management is more than just delivering software, it’s helping to drive digital transformation. 

It’s enormously important and people are understanding this, albeit slowly.

Start-ups are further along the path than traditional large corporations, which are more resistant to change.

Some of these companies are still using management principles from the 19th century, so it’s little wonder people are uncomfortable with change and relinquishing power.

Take the c-suite on your product journey

The role of product management is an essential one for organizations on this journey, but it’s equally important for them to take the senior management team with them.

Without this senior buy-in, any shift to a product-led mindset will feel like a struggle.

Key to building this trust is transparency. A product manager should not tell the board how to do things but show them – a vital difference.

By starting small and not trying to do too much too soon, it allows a product manager to show a positive impact, gradually build trust, and earn the freedom to make more substantial change. 

It’s also important to see more product people represented at board level.

With product shifting to a more prominent role in defining businesses, the role of Chief Product Officer (CPO) grows in value. 

It sounds obvious but when hiring a CPO, companies should always look to appoint someone with product experience. People that have more general c-suite experience are super smart but a CPO needs to be someone that understands product.

Having such representation helps formulate a better product strategy and will be a trend that continues in 2022 and beyond. 

Removing imposter syndrome

People in all kinds of jobs can suffer from imposter syndrome, but it’s something I am noticing more and more in product management. People are more open about imposter syndrome now, but product management is a very supportive sector. 

As I wrote at the start of this piece, there isn’t a clearly defined career path in product management. Furthermore, the tasks and responsibilities are vast, and product managers are usually surrounded by experts that know more than they do. 

Given all that, it’s easy to feel inadequate about your knowledge!

By sharing their vulnerabilities, product managers will find they are not alone and find encouragement and support from their peers.

They can further counter such imposter syndrome by keeping in mind that they are experts in collaboration and alignment. They might not know everything but they are the ones who facilitate any decision-making.

The most valuable skills for a product manager are all based around good communications. If a product manager can communicate clearly, transparently, and with empathy, and do so via the written word and visualization, as well as one-to-one, then they won’t go far wrong. 

The three biggest industry trends for me are adapting to product-led growth models, taking the c-suite along on your product journey, and combating the dreaded imposter syndrome.

Any product manager able to do all three will be hugely successful.

Lisa will be discussing these trends and more during our forthcoming airfocus roundtable. This takes place on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021, at 3:00 PM (GMT).

Click here to register.

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