2022 is coming to an end, and it has been a year with a lot of change. The economic climate has changed, and in the UK, our political leadership has changed (a few times) and our monarchy. The world of product management in tech firms has changed, with remote working continuing to prevail and outcome-driven teams continuing to be adopted.
Throughout 2023 as new budgets destroyed our economy, companies broadly refocused on profit with cost control, coupled with a public product experiment over at Twitter, I feel almost anything might happen in 2023. But there are a few trends I see with the companies I speak with which will drive decision-making and product priorities for next year.
2023 will see a high focus and strategic investment in the following areas:
1. Driving efficiency
2. Finding and keeping product talent
3. Digital innovation
The C-suite recognises that refactoring existing processes and resource configurations is key to sustaining growth. Recent Gartner research found that most CEOs want to break the silo with technology and orchestrate more cross-functionally. This is in line with the product-led mindset, which has been gaining popularity over the last few years. Unlike in previous years, there will be a greater focus on the value created by product development, which will need product leaders to up their game when measuring and communicating performance. In 2023 many product leaders will find that simply reporting on the delivery schedule many refer to as “the product roadmap” will not be enough. Senior leadership will want to understand the outcome and business impact better instead of simply focusing on deadlines. Shipping on time does not create profit. Measuring product value creation will be a bigger priority in 2023 than in the past.
Finding and keeping product talent
According to Deloitte and Gartner surveys, throughout 2023, business leaders will emphasise talent and DEI. The macro forces have made it harder to hire good talent in many sectors, including product management. Product leaders must continue working hard to make remote working inclusive to increase the size of their talent pool. Hybrid or remote working allows product managers to manage time better and increase their time talking to customers. This is key for the third prediction - digital innovation. The ways of working will be vital to winning the war on talent. Those companies with legacy thinking about product development with an IT project mindset will struggle to attract the staff to drive innovation or transformation. Companies will need product leaders and transformation support to succeed with improvements.
Digital innovation and AI
CEOs see digital transformation and innovation as key to driving growth. Product strategies will include initiatives to reduce operating costs and improve customer services. The bolder firms will grab the opportunity to drive product innovation to create a competitive advantage. Differentiation will come from better understanding the customer and deploying creative AI solutions, but it will not yet be focused on Metaverse. The recent release of Chat GPT will underpin new solutions launched in 2023.
2023 will not be a quiet year, the product opportunities are enormous, and the c-suite priority is aligning with the product-led mindset. It is going to be a lot of fun!