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It’s late December and I’m on a tear with writing, teaching, and speaking around the globe. Business is booming and demand for world-class product management training is growing – and with good reason! As we head into 2019, here are my predictions for Product Management and Product Managers.
2018 saw U.S. unemployment drop to record lows, which has a clear impact on the global economy and more importantly on product teams – especially with regards to talent acquisition, management and development. Finding and onboarding top talent is challenging and expensive. The cost of losing an employee can be twice their annual salary. That means, it’s critical in 2019 for managers to hold onto top performers by creating a learning environment, providing purpose and growth opportunities. For product managers, it means you can demand career development: ask for training to develop your skills and take your career to the next level.
More and more, traditional companies are adopting the language and practices of digital companies. The result: hybrid product development and delivery methods that resemble a combination of Waterfall (or Phased/Gate) and Agile (Iterative) practices. Waterfall + Agile = Wagile.
Funny as Wagile may sound, an Agile-Waterfall hybrid methodology in 2019 is a practical reality for many companies that really work. While some purists insist that Wagile describes a failed agile implementation, it simply isn’t true: for many, it’s a planned and deliberate state. As companies transform and tune up their product development velocity and capacity, evolving into true learning-experimenting companies, Wagile will help them quickly integrate users’ and buyers’ feedback, drive greater innovation and invent new business models. Wagile practices will provide awesome opportunities for agile-smart product managers in 2019 to drive positive business outcomes.
In a world where A-D-D is ubiquitous in business and change is constant and pervasive, in 2019, intentional product management will lead to building and delivering better products. With a clear and intense focus on outcomes, not output, product managers will ensure products succeed. To achieve this level of focus requires product managers to cut out nonessentials and to focus on the most strategic priorities, and that means saying “No” to anything that falls outside of that zone. As tempting as it may be to say “Yes” to impress managers and executives, doing it all without intention is a formula for failure when you’re building products.
Share your thoughts on what you think will impact product management in 2019.