ResourcesBlogElevating Product Management: Insights from the Latest Global Benchmark

Elevating Product Management: Insights from the Latest Global Benchmark


In the ever-evolving world of product management, staying ahead means constantly honing your skills and understanding the landscape around you. At 280 Group, we’ve been on a mission since 2018 to map the contours of this landscape with precision and depth. Our Global Product Management Skills survey, now in its third edition, is a resource for product professionals seeking to gauge their expertise against global standards. With over 5,700 responses collected, the insights we’ve unearthed are not just data points but guideposts for the future of product management. 

A Journey of Discovery: The Power of Self-Evaluation 

Our survey, encompassing 74 meticulously crafted questions, assesses proficiency across 15 critical dimensions of product management. It’s been our compass for six years, guiding Product Management teams at enterprise clients toward excellence. This year, we delved into responses from a diverse mix of 73.6% individual contributors and 26.4% leaders (Directors, VPs, and Managers), each evaluating themselves on a scale from 1 to 10. This self-reflection is more than an exercise; it’s a window into the collective psyche of the product management community.

Unveiling Strengths and Areas for Growth 

Our findings revealed a fascinating tapestry of skills. In the spotlight for their strength were Domain Knowledge, Communication, and Customer Understanding – skills that form the bedrock of effective product management. And this has been very consistent year over year since we’ve been running this study. These are the skills that product managers tend to bring to the role early in their careers, especially when pivoting from another role in their organization.  

Conversely, the areas of End of Life, Pricing, and Competitive Analysis emerged as opportunities for growth, which is also consistent with past results. These are skill gaps that we frequently encounter in consulting engagements with our clients, as they expose an issue that many product teams face – the lack of a clear professional development path for product managers to continue growing their skills, especially in the areas of market research and product strategy.  

Leadership and Mastery: A Comparative Look 

The journey from an individual contributor to a Product Management leader is marked by significant skill enhancement. Our survey shows that skill levels ascend by an average of 29% as professionals climb the leadership ladder, with Directors exhibiting a comprehensive mastery over the spectrum of skills we track.  

Leadership abilities, along with high-level PM processes, research, and competitive analysis, enjoy the most pronounced growth, highlighting the critical role of experience and perspective in shaping product management excellence.  

So, what does this mean for product professionals seeking career advancement? Many individual contributors express to us that after a few years, they start to feel stuck. They aren’t learning strategic product management on the job, and they aren’t sure how to develop these skills. Training can help, whether you prefer to study on your own, or learn from an expert in the field. But what we’ve also learned is that skills alone aren’t enough. 

The Transforming Impact of Processes and Training

A compelling narrative emerged from our data: the undeniable link between process, training, and confidence. Product Managers navigating within a structured product management process reported a 14.4% boost in their effectiveness, particularly in formulating product strategies. This leap in confidence underscores the importance of solid frameworks and methodologies in the product management arena. 

Organizations who invested in training alongside the implementation of a robust product management process witnessed a remarkable increase in skill levels, with a total confidence surge of up to 40%. This is a clear testament to the value of continuous learning and process refinement in cultivating a high-performing product management team. 

Even product managers who have advanced skills often can’t be effective without a consistent process. But the good news is that even taking small steps towards standardizing product management processes – especially around product discovery and linking business strategy to product outcomes – can yield measurable results for both individual contributors and product teams.  

The Path Forward

As we reflect on the insights garnered from our latest survey, the path forward is clear. Improving your product management skills is not just about personal growth; it’s about uplifting your entire organization. The benefits multiply—from heightened confidence and competence to the ability to navigate complex market dynamics with agility and insight. 

We invite you to engage with these findings not as mere observers but as active participants. We learn so much from the experiences of our community every year. We are committed to advancing the product management profession by sharing these valuable insights and fostering a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration.  

We hope it serves as a catalyst for your own journey of professional development and success. The journey of learning and improvement is continuous, and we believe that the future of product management is brighter than ever. 

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Empowerment In Practice: Utilizing Our 2024 Benchmark Report

Since 2018, 280 Group has been dedicated to empowering Product Managers globally. Immerse yourself in our exclusive global survey, exploring 15 dimensions, and uncover the latest release of our highly sought-after Product Management Skills Benchmark Report.

Join a community of over 5,700 proficient Product Management professionals of all seniority levels who have actively contributed to shaping the industry landscape.

Download the 2024 Benchmark Report Today.

Robyn Brooks
January 23, 2024