ResourcesBlogWhat’s the REAL Cost of a Poorly Trained Product Management Team?

What’s the REAL Cost of a Poorly Trained Product Management Team?


A product launch is a complex and multi-faceted activity that involves many teams collaborating successfully across an organization. The hard work starts early—from defining the target audience to conducting market research. Teams must ensure the product solves the right customer problems with all the right features and functionality, test and validate prototypes, and make a plan for production. After the launch, all eyes are on user adoption, reviews, and feedback that will shape the product roadmap.

Given the enormity of the product development process, it’s no surprise that successful product introductions are few and far between. According to research from Harvard Business School, of the 30,000+ new products introduced every year, 95% fail—and it’s often due to poor product management. With so many moving parts, product launches require good Product Managers to lead product development efforts, and unfortunately, many do not have all of the necessary skills to be successful.

The cost of poor product management training can be enormous, not only impacting an organization’s bottom line, but its reputation—and its ability to invest in future innovation. So let’s take a look at why so many products fail and how effective product management training can help to mitigate the risk and put teams on a path toward a successful and prosperous product launch.

“Sink or Swim” is a Risky Strategy

Product Managers are instrumental in bringing new products to market, and ensuring the product roadmap for existing products continues to align with customer expectations. Not only do they own the functional requirements of products and manage feature development, more importantly, they own the business strategy. They must analyze markets and competitors, build and refine the product vision, and bring together multiple teams—from engineering, to procurement, to sales and marketing, and more—to work toward a common goal.

However, most Product Managers don’t come to the profession fully equipped and skilled in all of these areas. And, the pace of innovation in today’s leading companies can make it difficult to find time for building those essential skill sets. Rather than coming prepared with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, for most Product Managers, it’s sink or swim—they jump in feet first, learn on the job, and hope for the best.

Taking this approach leads to some pretty significant problems:

  • Product Managers may not be “speaking the same language” as people in other teams, which makes it challenging to understand the impact across various teams on planning, development, and market introduction.
  • Because they’re not speaking the same language as other teams, Product Managers may not be aligned on the processes to follow throughout various stages of development. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict, and a resistance among other teams to collaborate and communicate effectively.
  • Oftentimes, other teams may not even understand the Product Manager’s role in the organization or the project, and if the PM lacks effective leadership skills, they may find themselves left out of critical discussions.

According to 280 Group’s Principal Consultant and Trainer Rick Bess, products often fail because Product Managers don’t specifically define objectives and quantify what success looks like. “If you do not define success, you are less likely to achieve it, and you may not even be aware of how the product is failing,” he said.

One Missing Skill Can Cause Major Damage Downhill

It’s important to note that a lack of skills in one area can have a snowball effect, impacting other areas and increasing risk of failure. For example, a Product Manager with poor market research skills may come to conclusions about what the target customer wants that are way off base. This can result in the development of features and functionality that don’t address key pain points—resulting in wasted money, time, and resources with no return on investment.

Similarly, a poor grasp of what it costs to build, market, and sell a product can impact profitability, if customers aren’t willing to pay a price that provides good margins. Product Managers who lack skills around analyzing and understanding the competition or building out sound business plans may find that their business model isn’t sustainable—and may actually end up costing their company profits. In fact, only 40% of developed products ever make it to market, and of those products, only 60% generate any revenue—a sign that many Product Managers are missing the mark in balancing market demand with the cost of product development.

The Fix? Proactively Fill the Gaps with Training

Transform your team

So how do ensure your team is fully equipped with the right skills and knowledge to lead a product development effort to a successful market introduction? By having your PMs work with expert trainers who have been there and can customize a program specifically to help you fill in the gaps.

280 Group offers courses and practical knowledge to deliver the skills your team needs to successfully and confidently manage product development and market introduction efforts at your organization. Whether they’re just starting out or have extensive product management experience, our experts can design a program tailored to meet their needs.

280 Group’s programs are completely customizable and flexible, and can be adopted by any company, regardless of size, maturity, or development methodology. They address all phases of the product lifecycle, enabling Product Managers to develop all the core skills required to build and manage products that matter to target customers, solve their challenges, and generate revenue for your organizations. Better still, they’re available in multiple formats—in-person, live online, or self-study options enable you to learn the way that you and your team prefer.

A plan of action

The first step is to assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and identify any gaps in their skill sets. That will help you determine what program is right for your team. Next, you’ll work with our product management experts to develop a customized plan of action.

Once your team members have rounded out their skill sets, they can complete an independent certification exam from the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM). This level of certification can help them progress on their path to higher pay and more recognition from the organizations, and raise awareness of their role in the product development lifecycle—which is critical to helping all teams involved align along common goals and objectives.

Get Started Today

280 Group offers private, customized training, strategic consulting, and actionable optimizations tailored to your team’s unique needs. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a consultation.

Also, check out our Product Management ROI calculator to learn how much ROI you can realize by optimizing product management through effective training and skills development.

Roger Snyder
May 11, 2021