The State of Product Leadership 2021

Each year, Pendo and Product Collective set out to take the pulse of the product industry and examine the evolution of the product manager (PM) role. The world has changed a lot since our last release of The State of Product Leadership–and product management is no exception. The shift to digital has accelerated significantly, putting product leaders at the forefront of business decision making.

Now in its fourth year, the 2021 survey and analysis coalesce around the idea of momentum: How can product leaders stay on top of this historic time of fast-moving change? The report is based on a survey of product professionals in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, and reveals seven key findings. Some insights may seem intuitive, while others speak to the unique position today’s product leaders find themselves in–and how they can make the most of it.

Who is spearheading digital transformation?

Product leaders are at the forefront of digital transformation, with two-thirds of respondents perceiving product and R&D teams to be responsible for these efforts.

Technical expertise is on the rise

While product pros come from diverse backgrounds, there is an increasing likelihood for product leaders to have a technical academic background–a trend that dates back to 2019.

How product operations shows up

As product operations continues to grow in importance, larger companies with higher annual revenues are the most likely to have a dedicated product ops team.

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