Product School

Great Products Sit at the Intersection of Tech and Business — Future of Product Trend #2

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Author: Product School

March 14, 2024 - 5 min read

Updated: March 14, 2024 - 5 min read

Product School’s Future of Product Report report combines insights from the most reputable research across multiple industries to identify the trends that will affect product leaders throughout 2024 and beyond. Keep reading to learn about the second trend we’re highlighting this year, or get the full report.

Trend #2: Product teams are sitting at the intersection of Tech & Business teams...

...not just under Tech 

As responsibilities widen, product team roles will evolve, signaling both opportunities and challenges in organizational structures. 

A significant trend is reshaping the fabric of organizational structures: product teams are increasingly positioned at the crossroads of technology and business. This evolution signals a pivotal shift from traditional models where product teams were often siloed within the technical domain. Today, product teams are embracing a broader scope of responsibilities that bridge the gap between tech innovation and business strategy, presenting both new opportunities and challenges.

The Integration of Tech and Business

The essence of creating great products in this new era lies in the seamless integration of technical capabilities with strategic business objectives. Product teams are no longer confined to the back end of product development; they are now central to the overarching business strategy, driving product vision and aligning it with market demands and business goals.

This shift necessitates a reimagining of product team roles. Teams are expanding their skill sets beyond technical proficiency to include strategic thinking, market analysis, and user experience design. This holistic approach ensures that products are not only technologically advanced but also deeply aligned with customer needs and business objectives.

The Role of Leadership in Product Teams

Product has a seat at the table like never before. The role of the Chief Product Officer (CPO) and other leadership positions such as VP of Product or Head of Product are instrumental in guiding product strategy. Leadership within product teams is not about hierarchical control but fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and strategic thinking. The focus is increasingly on the collective capability of the product team, led by a C-level executive who champions product-led growth.

Top companies now have CPOs

Seven of the top ten Fortune 100 organizations of 2023 now have a Chief Product Officer role. Throughout and even beyond the technology sector, we’re seeing a proliferation of CPO roles.

Blog image: CPO roles

Leaders and team members alike are tasked with navigating the product lifecycle, from ideation to launch and beyond, ensuring that each phase is informed by a blend of technical insight and business acumen. This collaborative approach leverages diverse skills within the team, driving innovation that is both technologically sound and strategically viable.

The Evolving Product Team Landscape

As product teams evolve to straddle the tech-business divide, they embrace a range of roles and responsibilities that reflect this dual nature. From product managers who articulate the product roadmap to UX designers who ensure the product meets user needs, each role is integral to the product's success in the market.

This diversity within product teams enables a more agile response to market changes, facilitating data-driven decisions and rapid iteration based on user feedback and market trends. It underscores the importance of a united product team, where each member contributes to the strategic direction and success of the product.

AI: Transforming Product Team Structures

Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents an unprecedented opportunity to redefine product team structures. By automating routine tasks and optimizing workflows, AI can significantly enhance efficiency, allowing organizations to focus human resources on areas where they can make the most impact, such as strategic decision-making and innovation.

Moreover, AI's ability to provide deep insights through advanced analytics and machine learning models empowers product teams to make informed decisions quickly, aligning product development more closely with business objectives and market demands. This not only accelerates the product development cycle but also enhances market responsiveness, giving companies a competitive edge.

As product teams increasingly navigate the confluence of IT and business functions, the integration of AI and the evolution of roles can introduce complexities around task responsibilities and skill requirements. To address this, organizations should proactively establish a competency model that delineates essential skills and behaviors for each role.

This model, ideally implemented by early 2024, should involve key stakeholders to ensure it accurately reflects the organization's needs and integrates seamlessly with HR processes. A clear and adaptable framework will help maintain organizational clarity amidst transitions, preparing teams for potential changes and enabling them to navigate the complexities of modern product management effectively.

Blog image: Competency model from FOPR 2024

The positioning of product teams at the intersection of technology and business is a transformative trend that reflects the changing dynamics of the modern business ecosystem. As these teams embrace broader responsibilities, their role in shaping product strategy and driving business success becomes increasingly vital. 

By fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and strategic alignment, product teams can navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by this shift, leading the way in the development of products that truly meet the needs of both the business and its customers.

Gain more insight

Learn about Trends 1 & 3 in the full report PLUS key takeaways and action points!

Get the Report

Updated: March 14, 2024

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