How COVID-19 has impacted the European product community

Published Oct 14, 2020

COVID-19 has transformed our lives and left many (if not most) industries overwhelmed with uncertainty. Businesses are wondering how they need to pivot today, and what this means for their long-term strategy and goals. To help bring some clarity to the chaos, we wanted to update the European product community on how things stand by building a picture of the current landscape and forming a vision for the future.

That’s why we’re excited to announce The view ahead: Product management in Europe’s new normal, a primary research study of over 200 product leaders and executives from the UK, France, Germany, and the Nordics. The findings reveal how COVID-19 has impacted growth, which business areas are thriving despite the global crisis, where the hardest-hit factions are, and much more. 

There’s no denying this pandemic has affected every organization, but our findings show that the product community knows how to handle business and prosper–no matter the circumstances. In the e-book, you’ll discover how product management approaches have changed since the start of the pandemic, how leaders believe the future will play out and learn the differences in perspectives and priorities among nations. 

Here are two of the top takeaways from the study:

1. Product is on an upward trajectory

It seems that product’s star continues to rise despite the virus’s best efforts. Before the pandemic struck, companies were already starting to view product as an essential element of their business strategy (every country trended significantly towards a product-led strategy except Germany, who preferred a sales-led approach). Instead of halting this momentum, most respondents said that businesses are turning to their product organization to help them navigate these uncharted waters. 

Product leaders have been relying on data and analytics to understand the impact of the pandemic. Our study shows that the marriage between analytics and product ideas has given flight to some creative approaches to tackling this unprecedented time. Across Europe, leaders are presenting a united front on product’s power to drive innovation forward through these testing times and they expect this to continue once the fog has cleared. 

2. Product engagement is more crucial than ever

Product engagement has always been an important KPI for product managers, but the results of the study illuminate just how critical measuring product engagement is today. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the European product leaders we surveyed believe product engagement will emerge as the primary driving force for business growth.

As we absorb this data point, the reasoning behind it makes sense: when product managers understand how users are interacting with their application, they can determine which areas or features are used the most or where the product may be falling short, and can iterate and improve accordingly. Teams can then encourage usage of the features they know correlate with positive customer outcomes. There are plenty of product metrics to choose from, but our findings show that product engagement will remain central to achieving this level of insight.

Find your way in the new normal

As product leaders, when we better understand the current landscape and where things are heading, we can plan more strategically (rather than relying on gut instinct) and make more informed decisions. After all, we’re a community that can learn from and support each other as we continue forging ahead into this new normal. We hope these insights can help guide you through this turbulent period, while shining a light on product’s influential role in current and future success. 

You can see the rest of the findings on COVID-19’s impact on the European product community in our new e-book, The view ahead: Product management in Europe’s new normal.