December 27, 2023

Future of (Product) Managers in an AI-led world: Here is how to thrive

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The field of product management is rapidly changing, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the way products are developed, marketed, and sold.
With AI becoming more mainstream and capable to automate a lot of mundane tasks, Product Management role is up for a real disruption and many product managers will face the heat in the coming days.
Market trends in 2023 and beyond

There are 2 mega trends at play in the world today:
1.Economic downturn
2.Rise of generative AI (and automations)
Combine the two trends, layoffs and cost cuttings are bound to happen (obviously speaking).
Recession-proof skills in any company
When it comes to any company, two skills that are recession proof are:
1.Either you can create (i.e engineering)
2.Or you can sell (sales)
Of course, the above 2 roles are also being let go of, but that’s because companies have hired too many engineers/sales teams (look at Twitter).
The product management role needs to be reimagined, as it has lately become ‘the’ lucrative role everyone is going after.
The PM role has often been debated and unlike any other role in the tech industry, product management role has its own flavor depending on the company, team and industry.
Redefining Product Management Role
What about Product Management? I believe, there are 2 ways to look at it:
1.Product management as a function, as a skill
2.Product management as a role, a title
The reality of most product management roles
A lot of product managers are in for that ‘managerial’ title, where they are neither coding nor selling or marketing — and are mostly doing program management role, i.e. interfacing with engg, product, marketing, sales etc.
Of course, this is much needed, but what are the real skills expected from a product manager?
What are the skills of a product manager?
Skill wise, I’d divide the Product Management role in 2 broad buckets.
1.Core skills.
2.Functional skills
Note that these aren’t mutually exclusive roles, but a healthy overlap is needed to really ensure that the product manager is the one person to ask/discuss anything related to the customer needs.
What kind of a product manager are you?
Are you a functional product manager or the one who is deeply performing core skills?
Of course, there is going to be an overlap between the two — but if you don’t own customer interactions and you are not going out and talking, you are not performing the core skills, it’s going to be a tough time ahead.
How to really thrive in 2023 and beyond?
Build on core skills.
Learn to ask a lot of questions.
Have an open mind when it comes to customer interactions.
Own the show.

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