280 Group Publishes 2nd Edition of its Product Management Skills Benchmark Report
Based on over 4000 responses, the report provides the most comprehensive view of where product professionals excel – and where they can improve.
Take the free Product Management Skills Assessment to generate a personal report and see how you stack up against the Benchmark
There are more than 41,000 Product Managers currently employed in the U.S. today, but according to our research, more than half say that their skills leave room for improvement. And while no one would disagree that skills development can help Product teams build better products faster, what skills are essential for Product Management success? Do those skills differ depending on years of experience? How can Product Management leaders set the stage for ongoing skills development, and help entry-level Product Managers grow and develop leadership skills over time?
280 Group set out to answer these important questions (and more) in the second edition of its Product Management Skills Benchmark Report, a global survey that examines the skills of Product Managers across 15 dimensions or skill sets.
We analyzed survey responses of 4,000+ Product Managers across 20 industries with varying levels of experience, to learn what skills are essential at different stages of a Product professional’s career — and how Product team leaders can create an environment that supports skills development.
The report provides important insights for individual contributors and senior-level Product professionals alike. Product Managers looking to move up the career ladder or even change industries will gain insight into which skills they should be building to accomplish their goals.
Director- and executive-level Product professionals will gain a better understanding of how to create an environment that fosters skill building and encourages Product Managers to become leaders themselves.
What Skills Matter Most?
New Product Managers
According to our findings, depending on what stage of their career Product Managers are in, different skills matter more. For example, entry-level Product Managers should focus on Writing Requirements, Business Skills, Marketing and Launch skills, and understanding their team’s Product Management process. End of Life skills are usually in need of development during this stage, as well. “Our survey found that Product Professionals show significant improvements in End of Life and Competitive Analysis skill sets with formal training – 20.8% and 13.8% respectively — and these are two skill sets found to be in need of the most improvement,” Snyder said.
Mid-level Product Managers
Later in their careers, other skills become more essential. Mid-level Product Managers should focus on building competitive analysis, pricing, and forecasting skills, if they want to continue to advance and eventually fill a director-level role or higher.
In addition to building the skills necessary for advancement, certification is a great way for Product Managers to stand out from the crowd. “Results from a separate 280 Group survey revealed that 87% of Product professionals said that preparing for and taking a certification exam made them more confident in their ability to perform their job responsibilities — and nearly 70% of those who have earned a certification said they would recommend pursuing a certification to their colleagues,” Snyder said.
How can Product Professionals Build Essential Skills?
A key take-away from the report that came as no surprise to 280 Group? Formal training is one of the best ways for a Product Manager to build skills and stand out from their peers. “Our survey revealed that Product Managers who receive formal training in their discipline are stronger by an average of 12.3% across all skill sets than those without formal training,” Snyder said.
Survey results also show that trained Product Managers are 11% stronger in Strategy skills, which are prerequisite for senior-level roles, and that they often exceed untrained Directors in multiple skill sets, setting themselves up for promotion to a Director-level role.
Survey findings underscore the importance of implementing and optimizing a Product Management process, as well. “Our analysis revealed that Product Managers who work at companies that have formal Product Management processes in place are more than 14% more competent in core skills than those who work at companies with no formal processes,” Synder said.
Process + Training = The Perfect Combination
According to our study, the best results are achieved when training and process are combined. “Product Managers are 25% more competent across over half of the 15 essential skill sets,” Snyder said. “The results paint a clear picture that combining training with a formal Product Management process creates an ideal environment for building Product Management skills.”
What Product Leaders Need to Know
The Benchmark revealed that training proves team skills, which has a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. For example, formal Product Management processes lead to skill levels that are 14% stronger than at companies with no formal processes in place. The strength of various skill sets varies depending on your industry, so it’s important to make sure your team is performing at the same level as other organizations within your industry. Knowing where you stand can help you shape your professional development plan and give your team an advantage. It will also help you know what skills to look for among candidates when you’re hiring new Product Managers.
Get More Insights and Build New Skills
280 Group offers resources for optimizing Product Management processes as well as flexible training and certification programs for Product professionals at all stages of their career. Download the full report for more insights from our comprehensive Benchmark Survey and helpful information about our Product Management training course, certification programs, and Optimal Product Process.