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95% of leaders believe product is the key to successful innovation

by CJ Daniel-Nield30 January 2024 5 Min Read

Our new research reveals how established organisations can overcome commonly faced challenges to become product-led whilst competing with agile companies.

We conducted a survey of 500 senior people in product roles as well as interviewing over 50 senior product leaders at leading UK businesses.

This included companies such as New Look, The Economist, and Barclays to help unveil the challenges faced by leaders when implementing product processes at established organisations.

The data outlines what a successful product-led organisation looks like, covering C-Suite buy-in, customer-first decision-making, launch patterns, autonomous teams and alignment behind outcomes. 

The challenges facing product leaders

The research also highlights the challenges faced by those in product-focused roles that stop effective changes from being implemented.

Key stats to prove this include: 

  • Unsupported by team - 44% of product leaders don’t feel adequately empowered to fulfil their role to the best of their ability due to fear of experimentation within their business.

  • Barriers stopping change - 61% of product leaders mentioned silos, BAU or competing teams and resources as a barrier to implementing product processes. 

  • Lack of understanding - Nearly half (42.6%) of product leaders don’t feel confident that product is adequately understood in the C-Suite.

  • Loneliness is rife - 60% of Chief Product Officers cite loneliness as a common aspect of the job, resulting in the average CPO tenure being 2.6 years: significantly shorter than other C-Suite roles (the average CEO tenure is 3.9 years, and it’s 4.6 years for a CTO).

Product is critical to growth

To compete in the current economic climate, organisations need to address the challenges and support and empower senior people in product roles to ensure growth.

The data we’ve gathered supports the notion that organisations must be product-led to innovate successfully. Especially large businesses which need to keep up with young, agile competitors

The most innovative companies experiment effectively by putting the customer at the centre of decision-making, whilst still considering the whole business.

It’s this approach which also defines what it means to be product-first. Most organisations know this, they’re not so sure what it looks like in practice. But by unlocking those product processes and addressing the challenges that product leaders face, you can create a well-oiled experimentation machine.

The report was produced in partnership with Mind the Product, which runs content and conferences for the world's largest community of product people.

I’m CJ, co-founder of Planes and in charge of all things strategy and growth. Coming from the world of startups, I want everything done 10x quicker than humanely possible—and I love my team for trying.
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