Top Product Management Trends in 2022

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Piotr Golianek

Mar 4, 2022 • 13 min read
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With increased competition, dynamically changing market and a global crisis ahead, more than ever businesses need to focus on building and developing the digital solutions that achieve product-market fit.

More and more firms are changing their trajectory and approach and praising product-led development. An approach in which they focus on emphasizing users and their burning problems and addressing the appropriate solutions. Product management strengthens as one of the foundations of software development.

It’s important to stay aware of these trends so your business doesn’t fall behind. We’ve taken a look at the top product management trends in 2022 and summarized them here, so you can build them into your new products and ensure a successful year for your business.

The top product management trends are segmented into four different categories:

  • Approach
  • Product
  • Market
  • Themes

Approach

There are three main trends affecting how product managers are approaching new products in 2022:

Data-oriented product management

Data-oriented product management delivers valuable user and market-related insights, providing evidence and mitigating the risk of being biased and making decisions based on intuition or inner voice.

The continuing advances of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the automation of data processing mean that product managers now have huge amounts of relevant data available to them.

In 2022, a product manager will need to give a primary consideration to product analytics and harness data to help improving customer value and identifying opportunities.

The ultimate goal for product leaders is to use data more consciously to provide a unique and personalized experience for users.

Product managers will be taking strategic decisions based on data. Greater data utilization will make the personalisation more effective.

AI-based analytics will deliver more accurate insights and more profound understanding. Big data analysis will be vital for making rightful decisions and should become a part of a product strategy.

This is evidenced by a recent report from Splunk, which highlights that organizations which place a strategic emphasis on data, with an advanced strategy to obtain business value from it, have added 83% to topline revenue and 66% more bottom-line profit in the past 12 months.

Increasing importance of a holistic Product Ops approach

The data-driven trend is a strong indicator that the entire product management lifecycle of digital solutions needs to be modernized. This brings us to our next trend: the importance of a holistic approach to Product Ops. It becomes more vital for businesses to properly identify, analyze and spin conclusions. Personalisation and data utilization are massive fields that might push the envelope of product teams.

A holistic and broad approach is needed, and that is Product Ops. A bigger, more cross-functional and diverse team to support product managers in making rational and data-driven decisions that will manage and aggregate works of Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, Legal and other critical departments.

This kind of end-to-end product management can help product leaders identify issues before they arise and save time fixing them later in the line, which can ultimately reduce product development costs.

It can also help to ensure all parts of the product management process are properly aligned, but it does mean that the demand for automated tools which enable this kind of approach is set to grow in 2022.

Increased use of Dual-track Agile

Dual-track Agile methodology contains two separate tracks: Discovery and Delivery. The discovery track focuses on designing, testing, and validating product ideas, and discovering user needs and problems. The delivery track works on turning those ideas into an actual product, with software development, backlog management and prioritization.

This methodology is becoming more popular because it allows the research and development teams to work in tandem, rather than one after the other, enabling faster iterations through the product cycle.

It allows for more proactive product discovery or user research, validating business ideas before delivering them. For example, you can take research about the UX of your product and visualize it to see how it would work in practice, tweaking it if necessary.

Product

With regards to the actual product, there are certain trends, particularly around the use of data to personalize the product offerings, which are accelerating even more in 2022.

Increasing personalization

Personalization is a hot product trend in many industries, and has been for a while, but 2022 is set to see the trend accelerate even further. Personalization involves the analysis of data to deliver insights which enable businesses to tailor their products and recommendations to individual customers, based on their activity history and preferences.

Personalization is so popular because it allows users to make a product their own, choosing different ways of interacting with it and experiencing it. Consequently, it improves customer experience.

As such, in 2022 we’re likely to see an increase in the use of:

  • Unique pricing models
  • Personalized discounts
  • Interactive product tours
  • Recommendations to help ensure customers are getting what they want, when they want it in the customer journey.

Intensifying the use of AI

Much of what we have discussed so far is possible through the use of AI. This delivers more accurate insights to product management teams in a shorter timescale, enabling them to make quicker, more informed decisions on how to improve their products.

In 2022, product leaders are looking for AI and ML platforms with tagging, theme extraction, sentiment groupings and health score features to help analyze quantitative and qualitative data.

These tools will help PdMs be able to rely on their data, and as more and more data becomes available, the use of AI will intensify, becoming a key aspect of product management. AI powered by data becomes a smart advisor for PdMs, helping them to make the right decisions, but also improves their efficiency and saves time through delegating tedious tasks.

Accessibility WCAG 3.0

The W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0 provide a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible to users with disabilities.

As businesses strive to become more accessible to all consumers, and brand reputation often hinges on how inclusive products are, product management teams will need to incorporate WCAG into their product development, ensuring that whatever they are releasing is usable by anyone, regardless of ability. The obvious benefit to doing so is that your product will be available to more customers, and your brand reputation enhanced.

A very basic example of this is the use of ‘alt text’ descriptions on images, or providing different ways for users to input or receive information from products, but the topic is much more complex. There are legal aspects to this, with governments and regulators requiring digital products to be accessible to all - this is already strictly regulated in the US, with the EU beginning to put policies in place too.

Market

There are changing conditions in the product management market this year, inspired by the increased use of digital products and the need to maximize ROI and reduce costs.

Massive demand for product management roles

As the last two years have seen the rise of the data-based product economy accelerate sharply, with most of us turning to digital alternatives during global pandemic and deciding to stay with them because of the convenience, so the demand for product professionals has risen.

As of August 2020 Glassdoor has ranked a product manager position as the 4th best job in the United States and the portal currently has 12,173 listings for it.

The impact of this for businesses is that it is going to be harder and harder to fill product manager roles, with competition so fierce. This will also drive up the cost of hiring and paying internal product managers, and may see many companies turn to outsourcing product management to third-party, expert PdMs.

Firms are becoming product-led

Product-led growth strategies are proving to be more effective than sales-led growth or marketing-led growth. During the pandemic, many businesses have adopted a product-led approach to help reduce costs and ensure that revenue streams are both scalable and sustainable.

This move involves making the user experience (UX) as simple and intuitive as possible, and will demand cross-functional collaboration between product managers, lifecycle teams and customer success teams.

Cross-functional product teams include product management, user experience designers, software developers, analytics, marketing, legal and compliance, sales, operations, customer success and finance.

The need for all of this expertise in one place is set to further drive demand for product management and development roles, and will alter business strategies to focus on placing the product at the heart of customer experiences.

Themes

As well as internal business themes, product management trends include also changing external themes which are impacting how product managers are thinking about their products and their impact on industry standards and the world, as well as new technologies that change the way products are developed.

Environmental impact

Investors, regulatory bodies and customers are all increasingly holding businesses to account for their environmental impact. The recent COP26 summit in Glasgow is a sign that decarbonization efforts must accelerate.

In 2022, this will mean a greater need for standardization of reporting for environmental, social & governance (ESG) data.

Reporting consistency across a product lifecycle will allow for greater transparency, and this will ultimately be led by product management teams, creating harmonised, actionable datasets which not only help to improve the products they bring to market, but also enable regulators, investors and other stakeholders to assess environmental impact, and make sure everyone can contribute to sustainability throughout the company.

Energy consumption will be an increasing factor in decision-making in product development. It impacts at least AI, cloud, streaming, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain, as these consume a lot of processing power, and therefore energy. Businesses are going to start choosing their partners based on B Corp certification and eco-friendliness audits.

Rise of no-code/low-code tools

Product management and development teams in 2022 will be seeking to digitally transform the product management process, looking for tools that can be easily and quickly integrated into existing technology stacks. This means PdMs will be on the lookout for low-code/no-code, accessible platforms that provide a visual-first experience across the entire lifecycle.

Low-code is a visual approach to software development that optimizes the entire development process to accelerate delivery.

With low-code, PdMs can abstract and automate every step of the product lifecycle to streamline the deployment of multiple solutions.

This speed is attractive to business leaders because it helps them stay one step ahead in the market, reaching customers at a quicker rate and therefore enhancing the chances of success. No-code/low-code solutions will speed up delivering prototypes and validating products, decreasing the cost and reducing time to market.

Web3

Web3 is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain technology, which incorporates concepts including decentralization and token-based economics. With Web3 expected to be built on the foundation of blockchain technology, it’s likely that product managers will have to adapt and remain agile to possible changes in the demands customers have for products.

For example, the rising demand for NFTs or cryptocurrency payment within applications may mean a whole new step in the product management process. This will drive the need for product management teams to find or develop frameworks which will help guide them in the exciting new era of product development.

Another topic in product management trends is that of the metaverse. The Metaverse is a vision for the future driven primarily by Meta (formerly Facebook) which sees the virtual world and augmented reality complement and in some cases replace the physical world.

The Metaverse will no doubt have an input on product management, even though there are a lot of building blocks still to be put into place.

Such an impact could include the prioritsation of software over hardware - the Metaverse will mean hardware devices are only required to enter virtual sessions, rather than the device being the focal point. There’s a lot for product managers to consider, and we’ll be watching this trend closely as it develops.

Get started on your product management in 2022

With all of these changes and trends, there are many challenges for product managers in 2022. But it should also be a very exciting time - new technology is making more things possible than ever, and allowing product management teams to build innovative, inspiring new products.

There are new considerations to take into account - such as environmental impact and the rising demand for product management roles, but also many new opportunities, from the rise of low-code solutions to the possibilities of Web3.

If you’re looking to create and launch your digital product get in touch with Netguru today. We have a team of product management experts looking forward to helping you bring the best innovative products to market.

We present a very holistic scope of in-house services that ranges from product team, through research, data engineering and AI & ML to no/low-code services. And one more thing, we’re proud to be a B Corp company.

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Piotr Golianek

Piotr Golianek works as a Product Manager at Netguru.
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