Tech and product cuts in 2024 and why this is actually good for product

Tech and Product cuts in 2024 and why this is actually good for Product

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As history repeats itself, we enter 2024 witnessing massive layoffs in product departments and product companies. Global companies such as Google (”hundreds” headcounts cut), Twitch (500 headcounts cut), Duolingo (10% of contractors), Instagram (60 headcounts cut), Amazon (”hundreds” headcounts cut), Discord (170 headcounts cut) as well as within more niche but still excellent companies such as swiss based Frontiers (600 headcounts cut) are cutting massively. This is a sad situation for the many friends and professionals who are affected. However, it may seem more catastrophic and surprising than it is.

Add this to the relatively “bad press” on the product profession that comes after Airbnb’s product management shift… Are the golden years of tech and product behind?

I am not sure that the last years have been “golden years” for product management, but rather unconscious ones. Irrational growth, hiring anxiety, and staff headcounts as a KPI lead to a situation that is just insane. In recent years, ‘delivery’ has been almost stigmatized in product management (and naif PMs believed it). Now, the focus is rightfully shifting back to ‘getting things done’ and delivering real value. Those who neglected delivery and “getting things done”, are out of the game.

There is no doubt that product management is changing, but that’s for the best.

The good news is that (Tech) companies are refocusing on the fundamentals, which include:

  • Attracting top-notch talent: there is still high demand for product people, but the bar is much higher. A well-rounded understanding of product (including business), combined with great soft and hard skills, is a must. Quality over quantity.
  • Frugality and efficiency: Embracing efficiency, tech companies are prioritizing strategic resource allocation in product management. This approach involves lean methodologies and critical ROI analysis. Working in “agile” is not enough anymore. It’s about a lean decision-making mechanism over hiring a mass of people, having a strong measure of success over multiplying activities. Masses of redundant roles (PM, POs,…) are history of the past.
  • Generating value: Investors are more conscious and profitability is not a bad word anymore. Companies are now focusing on making products that not only “seem to make sense” but that actually bring in profits. This means choosing projects that will pay off for the business. And the people who can DELIVER them.
  • Staying sustainable: Projects and products are highly scrutinized for revenue and economic sense. Simply launching numerous (money-losing) initiatives is not an option anymore. But serious products, still need great product managers. Sustainability (as in “business being sustainable) is a thing.

What I see every day:

There is still a high demand for excellent product people. Many of the companies I work with are actively seeking great product talent, and the Reasonable Product‘s Expert network is experiencing significant growth. If you’re looking for your next product gig or a temporary/part-time role, feel free to reach out or join the Reasonable Product Expert Network.

#layoffs #productmanagement #tech #sustainability #agile

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