Don’t press the panic button because of ChatGPT, product managers 🙂
Pretty much everyone in a non-physical-labour-intensive role is asking: “What does ChatGPT mean for my career?”
AI technology has no doubt changed the landscape of the tech industry, especially in the past few months. When we think about companies focused on digital products and those undergoing digital transformation, we need to remember it all boils down to smart people making sense of many inputs or data points in order to make decisions that help grow their business. So it’s natural for Product Managers to question what ChatGPT, and other AI technologies may mean for our discipline.
My take on it? Product Management is not going away anytime soon, and in the long run we’ll be in a better position because of this new technology.
We first have to accept that there’s a tool out there that helps us get answers faster than we did before. Guess what? That’s a shiny new tool in your product management toolkit. We have to work hard as product managers to understand customer needs and develop solutions that meet those needs and solve problems. That’s what the core of product is. So while AI can help us analyze data, it will not replace the 1:1 human connection we need to have with customers and our partners across the company to deeply understand what’s happening in their environment, at the moment they’re using our product.
I remember the moment I fell into product—sitting in front of a research analyst, watching him experience frustration while using my product and other tools (like an actual phone) at the same time. It hit me what my core persona was responsible for, and what his day entailed, and where my product fit into it. Not sure a chatbot can replace that experience for product managers, customers, and what that translates to for our companies.
We need to embrace AI as a partner. All this powerful data and insights should inform our strategic vision and strategy. Setting a vision and forming a strategy aligned with company goals is essential to the success of a product manager. It takes understanding many inputs – from competitive intel, and industry trends, to customer feedback – and making sense of it for your company in its stage and maturity. And while AI can help us understand themes, it can’t set strategic direction the way we are able to with our business partners.
Finally, remember that a critical aspect of the role of a product manager is to be a cross-functional servant leader. Relationships are key in this seat, as so much of our success relies on collaboration, clarity, communication, and being the voice of calm. Without Product Managers working with engineers, product ops, designers, etc, how will we inspire our teams to identify solutions that solve customer pain? Who will translate their experience with customers into ideas and action needed to execute on a strategic vision? How will we create a culture of experimentation and innovation that drives the business forward? How will we help identify and remove blockers to our success as we are constantly shifting to meet demand and stay ahead of competition?
We got into Product Management to solve customer pain and drive delight. Many of us also wanted to drive innovation and unleash our creative side. AI will be a key partner to us in terms of data analysis and thematic insights, and a great way to strengthen our knowledge around pretty much anything. AI will provide insights, with limited-to-no context into how our individual businesses and teams operate, so it won’t make decisions for us that keep the unit strong while driving change for our companies and customers. I believe it will empower us to do more and make smarter decisions with the time and insights we’ll gain as a result of it.
Have any thoughts on how AI will impact product management? Let us know in the comments section below.
What to read next
- Motivating product teams during a tough time in tech
- The role of an AI product manager
- Check out Christine’s product blog The Product Heart