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Trends in Product Management

July 20, 2022

It’s an exciting time for product managers. Product management trends propel an ongoing digital transformation in our lives and work. A Salesforce article defines digital transformation as “using digital technologies to create new—or modify existing—business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.” 

Without talented product managers and their expanding roles in nearly every sector, the promise and potential of a digitally-enhanced economy would fall short.  

Let’s examine some leading product management trends and what it means as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

Four Trends in Product Management 

Product management trends are on a fast track, keeping pace with the digital transformation previously mentioned. Here are four trends in product management that are shaping the digital future.   

Talent Scarcity 

Ecommerce sales have spiraled upward over the last few years, with COVID-19 pushing traditional brick and mortar businesses into an increasingly digital business model. Banking, education, healthcare, and retail are leading the charge. E-commerce sales in retail alone are forecast to top $7.3 trillion in retail by 2025.  

As industries and product offerings digitize, the demand for product managers now outstrips supply. This is a challenge for businesses and an opportunity for up-and-coming product managers.  

Professionals with proven problem-solving, project management, and people skills are good candidates for product manager roles. While the current logjam may strain growth, the solution leads to a diverse workforce. It is a win-win for professionals, businesses, and customers. 

Hyperdata and AI Closing the User Connection  

Digital product development depends on data. Some go so far as to say that data is the new oil, the driving force of a digital economy. Whether or not that analogy holds, data,  artificial intelligence, and machine learning are increasingly embedded in products that integrate deeper and more intimately into our lives. 

AI also gives product managers a more accurate understanding of how users interact with products. This process feeds the cycle of improvement and iteration.

Design Thinking 

Design thinking is a creative, human-centered approach to solving problems. It is the core mission of any product team in any sector. Design thinking focuses on creating products that solve real problems in people’s lives.  

As products impact users’ lives in more ways, the process of emphasizing the importance of human empathy in product design is more critical than ever.

 An Indeed article describes the five “phases” of design thinking: 

  • Define the problem and customer need 
  • Understand and empathize 
  • Ideate solutions 
  • Develop those solutions 
  • Test those solutions    

Remote Product Teams 

The growth of remote work generally is reflected in the trend toward remote product development teams.  

While product managers may have concerns about not being onsite with their teams, many companies have successfully made the transition. For example, Zapier, Automattic, and Doist are thriving companies with a fully-remote workforce.  

Remote product manager Rian van der Elezea writes that “remote work makes it much easier to develop and instill a rhythm of collaboration and focused time for a team.”  

Learn Product Management at Merrimack College 

Merrimack College’s industry-aligned programs allow professionals an opportunity to start or advance their product management careers.  

The 100% online Master’s in Engineering Management – Product Management degree program opens an advanced career path for talented multi-dimensional leaders.  

The 33-credit MS in product management program covers core the practicalities and principles of product innovation, design, scheduling, marketing, data science, accounting, and engineering management.  

Students can choose between three concentrations: Life Sciences, Technology Products, or Software/Web/Mobile.  

The Product Management Foundations Graduate Certificate programs are designed for students beginning their product management careers. Merrimack offers Foundations Graduate Certificates in Life Sciences, Software/Web/Mobile, and Complex Technological Products.

The Product Management Foundations Certificates award fully transferable graduate credits which may be applied to the full Master of Science in Product Management degree programs. 

All Merrimack’s online programs employ a fully online, experiential format that prepares students to take on project management roles immediately.  

Whether students choose the master’s program or foundations certificate, they come away with a thorough understanding of the product development lifecycle, hands-on knowledge of industry needs, and a design thinking mindset.  

Graduates emerge ready to envision, innovate, design, and test products that improve people’s lives where they live and work.