Why there‘ll be fewer Product Managers in the future

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Ried Hoffman interviewing Josh Elman for a product manager role in the early days of Linkedin

“Most jobs have an artefact, If you’re an engineer you’re writing the code that runs the final product. If you’re a designer you’re designing the mockups & graphics that show up in the final product. If you’re the CEO like me you have the org chart or finance plan.

If you’re the Product Manager, what do you exactly do?

Hearing this on the MFM podcast reignited a thought I had a while back on how Product Management will evolve as a role within an organisation.

Product Management looks to be more popular than ever. Right now there are over 200,000 job postings on LinkedIn and over 40,000 members on the product management subreddit.

Product Management is the new Investment Banking

In addition, the thinking and development of product as a craft continues to grow with an ever-expanding pool of frameworks and tool kits.

With Product Management seemingly more popular than ever, why do I think we’ll see fewer PM roles in the future:

Smaller companies don’t need a PM: Early-stage start-ups are bringing in their first PM much later, and rightly so. When the offering is simple the founder(s)/CEO should be more than capable of communicating a clear strategy and product direction.

Product is the responsibility of everyone. Product led frameworks and tools are easier to access than ever and much better understood throughout the organisation, product leaders like Shreyas Doshi are sharing great content that’s relevant and accessible to a wide audience not just PM’s. I see product increasingly embedded in the very fabric of a business. The PM “role” will be seen as the responsibility of everyone in the team, explained in more detail here.

This will lead to product managers covering more teams. Spotify’s famous (and somewhat clichéd) Squads and Tribe framework has a product owner for every squad/feature team which has been the playbook for teams across the world. Recently, I’ve seen a shift to PM’s having to manage multiple product teams and with huge success. A great leader will be able to embed product thinking into the culture requiring fewer PMs as a result.

In my opinion, these trends will continue resulting in fewer Product Manager roles in companies.

However, the role of product in successfully growing and running an innovative company is going to become more important. So whilst we may see fewer product managers the CPO/Head of product role will continue to be vital.

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After years working in product have started to share my thoughts with ramblings like the above, you can follow me on twitter in case you found this remotely interesting.



After working in product for while, thought I'd start typing and sharing.

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Ash Sampat

After working in product for while, thought I'd start typing and sharing.