White Paper | The State of Product Management Professional Development

. . . and where we go from here.

The past 20 years have been a seemingly golden era for product management professional development. Hundreds of thousands of professionals have participated in product management training. Product management is now on the curriculum at major business and computer science programs. If someone is looking for product management training, there are myriad options for in-person, on-line, and degree programs.
Even with the explosion in the number of professionals trained in product management and the available options for that training, traditional training has not produced a material impact in the practice's improvement and growth.
  • Product management is clearly defined and understood in only 21% of organizations, according to the 2020 Product Management Festival Benchmark Report. 
  • Process, roles, and alignment in product management were identified as the biggest challenges by respondents in the 2019 SiriusDecisions Product Management Priorities Survey.
  • In research from 280 Group, 47% of respondents identified process as the biggest challenge for product management in their company, and 51% said their product management process is not well-defined.
These issues with process, roles, understanding, and alignment show up in poor results, with CB Insights research identifying that 72% of all new products developed fail to meet their revenue targets.
If the product management profession needs to improve these results, product management professional development needs to evolve.
In this paper, we:
  • Explore research on professional development as a whole and the recommendations innovators in learning and development are making to improve professional development;
  • Share findings from our research on the state of product management professional development, including benchmarks on current approaches, current skill gaps in product management, and insights into where product professionals access new ideas; and
  • Based on research and experience, provide recommendations on how product management professional development should evolve to increase clarity in process, roles, and alignment, and through that, improve commercial results.
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