With digital transformation and customer experience at the forefront of most enterprise brand strategies in 2020, product-focused roles are changing drastically. Executive teams recognize the critical role product and road mapping can play in the overall customer experience. Therefore, product managers and product leaders have seen a large increase in responsibility and potential company-wide impact.

While we could chat top product management tools and technologies all day, we believe organizational changes will have the largest impact on this industry in 2020. If you’re looking for product management trends to follow, these are the two to watch this year.

The role of product manager is changing

Product managers no longer simply oversee the product backlog or just organize their team’s tasks. In 2020, PMs play a massive role in product strategy and determining the overall customer experience. Product managers are now being seen as leaders within their organizations rather than independent contributors.

Due to rapidly-changing technology, customers have high expectations for the products they use. When something is broken, they expect an immediate fix. This means product teams need to be more nimble than ever and possess the ability to make decisions quickly. Given this, they’re being trusted with more and more responsibility to push the brand vision forward and maintain focus throughout quickly-changing priorities.

This also means the demand for high-level PMs has increased as well. According to this hiring trends report, the demand for senior-level PMs increased 51 percent over the last two years (compared to entry-level at ten percent and mid-level at 26 percent) with an overall jump of 32 percent in all PM-related roles. In comparison to the growth of the larger job market, the demand for PM roles in the US surpasses the increase in demand for all other roles combined by 5x.

Product management job growth chartSource: Product Management Hiring Trends in the US — 2019

Product management job growth chartSource: Product Management Hiring Trends in the US — 2019

As PMs are handed more and more responsibility, we anticipate the demand for jobs in this market will continue to grow. Product managers now have more opportunities to have large, long-lasting impacts at companies and play an integral role in the overall strategy of the brand. Who wouldn’t want that?

Organizational silos are breaking down

This is the biggest change we anticipate happening in 2020, and it’s not going to be an easy one to adapt to. The worlds of marketing and product are colliding in new ways as customer experience takes center stage. We’re already seeing companies – specifically enterprises – begin switching up their organizational structure in order to prioritize CX.

For some brands, they’re moving the mobile app experience out from product and into marketing. Others are merging the two and encouraging the departments work together to share the mobile experience.

Regardless of the actual logistics, this change usually stems from an organizational shift at the executive level. We’re seeing companies hire Chief Experience Officers and Chief Customer Officers to help lead innovation and strategy around the customer experience. With these new leadership roles comes a lot of organization-wide change.

Because of this shift, aligning incentives and priorities will be paramount in 2020.

  • What KPIs are core to CX?
  • How are employees compensated on metrics such as NPS and CSAT?
  • How are retention and loyalty being measured across the organization?
  • Who owns the voice of the customer? (Psst…we just did a webinar on this topic – check it out here)
  • How do you translate measurement into a set of actions, and how do you turn that into ROI?

Executive leadership teams will start (if they haven’t already) asking and hopefully answering these tough questions in the coming year.

When transparency is embraced by product teams, it prevents knowledge silos that can hinder communication with customers, prospects, and other stakeholders. It helps cross-functional departments understand the rationale behind tough trade-offs on what gets built next, even if they don’t personally agree with the decision.” – Product Board

The companies with clearer ownership over customer experience and voice of the customer metrics will be more effective. CX and VoC transcend any single department or employee. The brands that embrace this challenge will see the most success.

What did we miss? What other 2020 product management trends are you watching?

Read More: Tech Product Management.