Having spent the majority of my professional career in product management, I enjoy following the latest trends shaping the field. With 2024 just around the corner, I thought I would share my perspective on what I see being the most impactful trends for product management in the coming year. From leveraging AI to increasing focus on customer success, 2024 promises to bring exciting developments that will influence how product teams operate.
9 Product Management Trend Predictions for 2024
1. Generative AI Goes Mainstream
It wouldn’t be 2023 if it didn’t start with generative AI. Led by advancements in products like ChatGPT, Claude, Bard, and more, teams will integrate generative AI into their existing products to enhance the user experience at a faster pace next year. As these assistants grow more intelligent over time, they will change user expectations for how software should interact and assist them. Product managers will need to be up for the challenge of creating value-add assistants, not just me-too assistants.
2. AI Supports Product Teams
AI will move beyond user-facing features to assist product teams directly with ideation, customer research, and documentation. Tools that can summarize survey responses, analyze behavioral data to suggest user experience improvements and even draft PRDs will make product managers more efficient. Those who take advantage of AI support should reap the benefits of better and faster insights that fuel product decisions.
3. Customer Advisory Boards Grow
While CABs aren’t new, I expect that more product organizations will formalize customer advisory boards to better inject the voice of their users into strategic planning as a result of the challenging business climate we’ve been in for the last 12-18 months. As ARR growth is a struggle at many companies and development cycles shorten, real-time qualitative customer feedback becomes more critical. Advisory boards enable access to key user perspectives in building products that meet market needs. CABs can also be effective at companies of any size as well.
4. Embedded Analytics Adoption Continues to Grow
Embedded analytics, or self-service analytics, will become a standard across more and more SaaS products, providing users with better visibility and analysis of the data created on a given SaaS platform. Product leaders who adopt embedded analytics early will continue to see higher NPS scores and retention rates. I’ve said in several presentations that all companies are analytics companies. Those product teams realize they don’t have to reinvent the wheel building everything themselves, keep more of their focus on their core mission, and ultimately gain a competitive advantage.
5. Outcome-Focused Roadmaps
Output-based roadmaps that highlight features and releases will transition towards roadmaps oriented around customer goals and outcomes. This shift brings users to the center when defining strategy and establishes metrics to track progress toward success metrics that matter most to customers.
6. Blending Product Management & Marketing
Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and Founder, recently made what many called a controversial change to the product management function at Airbnb. Much of the news headlines included mentions of him “getting rid” of product managers, but in reality, he changed their function. Quoting Chesky from his recent interview on Lenny’s Podcast; “we combined what one might call the inbound product development responsibilities of product manager with the outbound or marketing responsibilities of product marketing.“
There has always been overlap in the product management and marketing functions, but this is an interesting move to bring more commercial accountability to the product function. It’s not that I think this will trigger an industry-wide move all at once, I do think many smaller to mid-size companies may give this a try in the name of efficiency. This one will be interesting to watch.
7. Customer Success Partnerships
Product managers will forge closer alignments with Customer Success as retention and expansion grows in importance. By partnering closely with customer success managers, it can ensure users extract maximal value after onboarding, an important role PMs can play in influencing recurring revenue through renewal and upsell opportunities paying close attention to the success of their customers.
8. Smaller (& More Effective) Teams
The economic turbulence of the last 12-18 months yielding layoffs and hiring slowdowns will leave smaller but more agile product teams entering 2024. Adopting AI where possible for amplified productivity, these slimmed-down groups will need to operate smarter to achieve more. Disciplined prioritization frameworks focusing on the vital few over trivial initiatives become critical.
9. Safe and Ethical Product Development
Rounding out my trends for 2024, incorporating ethics deeper into product development frameworks will gain momentum, topics typically reserved for technical leaders. Concepts of humane design and moral AI will shape discussions on building products focused not solely on business success but societal benefit.
Additionally, security practices developed as forethoughts, not afterthoughts, will be crucial to adopting AI and other trending technologies. About 50% of respondents consider cybersecurity and IP infringement their top concern for the adoption of generation AIs according to a McKinsey survey, so product management leaders play a critical role to ensure security is top of mind from the beginning.
I think these trends in product management signal an exciting future for product management in 2024. While AI and automation will transform aspects of the product management function, the uniquely human skills of imagination, judgment, and wisdom become more important than ever.
The coming year promises to bring ample opportunity for product leaders to lean into these trends to deliver significant impact to their products and organizations. I look forward to seeing how these trends shape our field over the next year.
Have additional thoughts? Reach out to me on LinkedIn and we can start a conversation.