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Linear Thinking is Out: the Changing Shape of Product Management with author Geoffrey Moore

Bonus Rule: Loop in the Customer. As customer success becomes the name of the game, a “sea change” in product management is just around the corner.

Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm, distills sea-change moments in product industry innovation to clarify what leaders should be focusing on and how they can seize the force of the evolving market to their advantage.

On this bonus episode of The Platform Rules: Digital Transformation for Product Companies, we’re replaying a pithy fireside chat between Moore and Propel CEO & Founder Ray Hein from last year’s Propulsion that remains relevant as ever.

Click here to listen to the full episode, or hit play below.

As an established industry thinker, speaker and advisor, Moore is known for his uncanny ability to trace the ongoing evolution of product management and how outside forces are shaping–or indeed reshaping–its trajectory.

“Product management… it really was conceived as linear from ideation to delivery. I think the biggest change we’re seeing as we move to a subscription economy and to a more “service” world is that it's now a loop. It's no longer a line, it's a loop.”

In reshaping revenue models from linear to a “loop” as Moore describes, the product management cycle begins in the same place that it ends – the customer.

“Now that we're in a subscription mode, we have to continually re-earn the right to serve the customer. So that means taking customer support from a kind of a tech support function to what people are now calling ‘customer success management.’”

Moore’s work has focused on the market dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations. As product companies grapple with the increasingly evident requirement to “close the loop” with their customers, he details how the disruption in this case will be focused in the role of product managers.

"The biggest change we’re seeing [in product management] as we move to a subscription economy and to a more 'service' world is that it's now a loop. It's no longer a line, it's a loop."

“This is a whole different set of incentives. All of that is to say, well, ‘who's now accountable?’ I think this is where product lifecycle management is really going through a sea change right now.

“I actually think the product manager is not going to be an incubator, a Petri dish, to grow general managers, because basically we're now asking the product manager to act like a general manager – you're not just accountable for the technical performance of your product, you're accountable for the economic performance, which means you're accountable for the outcomes in your customer's environment.” 

The “sea change” that comes with shifting the role of product management may mean drastic reshaping, but from Moore’s vantage,  it’s the only way that product managers will be able to answer the big question facing their company (and all product companies) right now:

“We used to think about product management as a ‘What’ – ‘what is in the product?’ Now, product managers have to think about ‘Why’ – how do I make the product serve the customers’ Why?”

Hear more insights from Geoffrey Moore and how the customer is reshaping the nature of product industries. Moore will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Propulsion 2022 alongside Salesforce EVP Alexa Vignone and Optimizely CMO Kirsten Allegri Willians. Register now for the industry event for leaders of product and commercial teams in medical device, electronics & high tech, consumer goods, and industrial equipment markets. 

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