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Survey Says….

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

A few weeks back a new Product Management Survey co-sponsored by the 280 Group and Quantum Whisper was released (you can download a copy here http://www.quantumwhisper.com/product-management-survey-pdf-download/)

Like I assume many others of you, I was intrigued to see what the survey uncovered and wanted to look at the survey from three perspectives:

  1. What does the survey say about Product Managers and Product Management?
  2. How do the results compare against Pragmatic Marketing’s 2008 Annual Product Management and Marketing Survey?
  3. How do I match up against the crowd?

So, what does the survey say about Product Managers and Product Management?

Well, first off it was good to see that almost 90% of the respondents work for a company that has at least one product manager.  From looking at the results, we are a seasoned bunch – more than half of us have more than five years experience.  And why shouldn’t company’s value experienced Product Managers?  After all, based on the survey over 70% of us work more than 40 hours a week and 76% of us put in time on the weekends.  Who wouldn’t want a dedicated work force that is willing to put in all that extra time for nothing?

It begs the question – why are we working so many hours?

  • Approximately 65% of us are managing more than 3 products.  Does this mean that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to analyze the market, talk to customers, help sales, plan the next release, work with Development on the current release, etc. etc.?
  • Are we so bogged down in the tactical, that we spend the extra hours trying to be strategic?  If we aren’t being strategic, who is doing this for us?  Our immediate managers (i.e. still within Product Management)?  The Executive Team?  Sales?  No one?
  • Are you spending all your “regular” hours talking to your existing customers?  35% of Product Managers in companies selling B2B have up to 100 customers and 35% in B2C have up to 250 customers.  When do you find time to talk to your competitor’s customers and the ones who have yet to buy? 
  • And if we assume that when we put in this extra time, it is focused on company business, when are we finding time to follow each other on Twitter, read blogs, write blogs, plan and attend the various Product Camps, etc. to help enrich ourselves and share with others within the Product Management community?
  • Are we, as one respondent replied working extra hours “… so I can eventually get promoted OUT of product management hell?” What would be your next step? What were you before you were a Product Manager, was it really any better?

How does this compare to the Pragmatic Marketing survey?  Well, first, not surprising, there isn’t a whole lot of overlap between the questions in the two surveys.  This, I guess, is a good thing.  The Pragmatic Marketing survey tells us the following:

  • We go to a lot of meetings – at least 40% of our time is spent in meetings – and we receive 50 e-mails / day and send 25.  No wonder we have to work so many hours over and about 40 each week?  When do we have time to do any work when we are sitting in meeting rooms or working on e-mail?  How many of us are multi-tasking and working on e-mail on our Blackberry’s while we are sitting in these meetings?
  • The Pragmatic survey has a great chart that shows just how we are spending those hours – or at least how we claim to be.  What’s interesting, are the things we just aren’t getting done.  Less than 40% of Product Managers are doing win / loss analysis, going on sales calls and visiting sites without sales.

So, where do I fit?

  • I’ve been a Product Manager for more than seven years now.  I too, put in far more than 40 hours a week while I am in the office and on the road.  Time is spent most weekends on just trying to keep my head above water.
  • And I only manage one product – ok, it has multiple diverse modules – but in reality, it is 1 SKU on the price list.  It is an enterprise B2B software solution – so, it is pretty big, but nonetheless, I wonder how I would manage to keep ahead if I had more than one big product to manage.

Am I working hard – to get promoted OUT of Product Management hell?  Not a chance.  Are you?

Categories: Surveys