Reflecting on the 2008 Product Management Survey

clipboardThe 2008 Product Management Survey is out.

While the respondent universe – totaling up to a measly 1,100 – may not accurately reflect facts, some of the findings are interesting.

  • Product Managers are spending far too much time in meetings (35% go to 20+ meetings a week, that is 4 every day. One hour per meeting implies 50% of a workday spent in meetings!)
  • Steven Haines of Sequent Learning Networks, in his book makes a compelling argument about Product Managers getting about their profession without a formal training in the trade. Fragmentation of qualification possibly directly reflects the fact that Product Management is still a function scattered across a firm. I couldn’t believe that 11% Product Managers actually reported into the Engineering organization!
  • Given that on an average a Product Manager manages 3 products, it so stands that these products are supported by 1.4 Marketing staff, 9.2 Sales and Pre-sales staff and 13.1 Engineers. A fair balance.
  • Analysis of the Activities section reveals that outbound tasks dominate. Overlay this with the fact that 89% of the Product Managers claim high degree of technical (I assume this also connotes “technological”) capabilities and we may have a dichotomy. Is the industry staffing the function with incorrect skills?

I hope the 2009 survey will have more responses and will go a little deeper in slicing and dicing the information received. Understanding how a function is implemented and operationalized by the industry goes a long way in perfecting it.