Experimentation over Internal Politics: The Product Managers’ Wish List for 2019

by Alpha
January 10, 2019

Alpha, the on-demand user insights platform, today announced the findings from its annual Product Management Insights Report, highlighting the powerful role product managers can play in driving digital innovation — if they are supported and freed up to experiment.

The study of more than 250 product managers from large enterprises and startups throughout the U.S. found that overall, these professionals have become more strategic and tasked with leading innovation in their organizations. However, the research also uncovered that the ability to innovate and experiment is being hindered by costly internal politics and distractions. In a highly competitive era when customer-centric products and services are essential for companies to survive and thrive, the report shows clear areas where organizations can improve: Even though product managers say that direct customer feedback is the top source of new product ideas, a startling 86% say that they don’t spend enough time talking to users.

The research, conducted in November 2018, was the fourth annual report on the trends affecting product management teams in companies both large and small. The study has shown that product management has become a strategic role within a business, driving experimentation, and becoming central to organizational growth.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • A whopping 80% of product management professionals say that they do not spend enough time on experimentation.
  • Though one-third of product managers conduct user research on a daily basis, they don’t think that’s enough. 86% of product managers say that they don’t spend enough time talking to users.
  • 69% of product managers report being responsible for customer interviews, an increase of 10% since the 2017 report.
  • Instead of dedicating their time to valued experimentation and iteration, 60% of product managers report spending too much time on internal politics.
  • 57% of product managers say they would like to be freed up to spend more time roadmapping. The number-one wish for product managers at startups is to have a clearer product roadmap and company strategy.
  • 40% of product managers say they are using AI or machine learning, up 7% from last year.
  • Despite all the hype in 2018 about Blockchain technology, only 2% of product managers say they are using it.

Alpha’s on-demand user insights platform helps leading organizations validate business decisions and accelerate innovation. Every business faces existential threats from market forces, new competitors, automation, and workforce challenges. The companies that will survive and thrive are agile, and adapt and react to the changing wants and needs of the marketplace. With Alpha, teams can build products based on objective data and corporate strategy is aligned to the actual wants and needs of the market. The C-suite, marketing, market research and product development can now run multiple tests simultaneously. They get critical feedback faster and more cost-effectively, freeing up teams to do what they do best: build, innovate and iterate.

Download the Complete 2019 Product Management Insights Report

See the results of our survey of 253 product managers on what they do and how they build successful products.