Product management is a relatively new discipline, and its practitioners continue to refine it every year. In 2016, we welcomed many new faces who contributed best practices and thought leadership to the industry. For the second straight year, we compiled the top 40 influencers in our Product Management Year in Review.
Our team reviewed thousands of articles, podcasts, reports, and books to identify more than 200 key people. In a sign of how much the industry has matured, the task of selecting the 40 most influential people in product management was substantially more challenging this year. The competition was fierce and our selection criteria prioritized those who (i) made frequent contributions, (ii) garnered a readership and following, and (iii) delivered unique, high-quality, and actionable insights. For each influencer who made the list, we’ve included a summary of their career, up to three of their most recent contributions, and their social media handles.
Altogether, there are hundreds of hours worth of content for readers to explore. While the influencers are diverse and range from authors to CEOs, there are a few noteworthy trends we’d like to highlight.
To begin, there was an overwhelming emphasis on design in the past year. Ranging from Aarron Walter’s “7 Problems Growing Design Teams Face” to Jake Knapp’s book “Sprint,” readers may reevaluate the importance of prototyping and design thinking within their organizations.
Second, the concept of leadership skills has finally come to prominence in the industry. As product management is still often ill-defined across companies, it should be no surprise that product leadership is even more vague. But influencers made headway, beginning with advice for junior product folks and culminating with Eric Ries’s new book, The Leader’s Guide.
Finally, many influencers focused on the unique challenges of bringing lean methodologies to the enterprise. Although it’s significantly easier said than done, recent content and best practices have dispelled many of the myths and misconceptions. Product teams from large organizations will love Cindy Alvarez’s interview about customer development, Anuraag Verma’s guide to innovating in a regulated industry, and how Scott Kirsner is chronicling corporate innovation.