As 2017 is nearing its end, I’m going to give a short Outlook on 2018 for product managers. This list is really about key factors that will be involved in your product development to get your product to the next level in 2018.
Some key changes are there to actually protect you from hurting your business. The new year will see a lot of interesting changes in regulation in Europe with global impact. Use them to your product advantage.
Here are the 5 key changes for you as a (product) manager:
1. SEO ranking is now a quality-only content game
Most product managers aren’t into SEO. Well, you should actually. A product without traffic is like a car without fuel. Would be hard to make a buck without it, right?
Google decided this year to level up a their machine learning engine behind their search engine called RankBrain. RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm which focuses on helping Google refining search queries from search users and answer those queries more effectively and with better precision.
Although it was introduced in 2015, this was the year we saw the first real effective noticeable ranking changes across the board. Its biggest impact is on more niche keywords or so called longtail keywords (where most companies compound their traffic).
Google’s main message with their new engine is simple: you need to create content for users and not for SEO. No quality content = lower ranking.
If your SEO strategy is build on keyword density and templated content, you might want to change your content strategy. Google will lower your ranking position faster and my give you competitor the ranking advantage due to better content. My SEO guide for managers is a good start understanding how to (re)build your SEO strategy.
2. Hiring (product) talent will be 10x harder
The global economy has been on the rise in 2017. Especially the big tech markets (US and Europe) are seeing faster local economic growth. Which means one thing: talent is getting scouted and recruited by the hour. This already created a lot of scarcity of real talented people that can move a tech company forward.
The new year will make it even 10x harder. This is because the local authorities US and mainly Western Europe already gave growth forecasts 2018 will have bigger economical growth numbers than expected.
This will have an effect on companies investing more heavily in new opportunities, products and…….talented people to drive those efforts. If you internal forecasts predicts you’ll need to start hiring people, you might want to start now and bring some extra value to the table. It might take a while as competition is fierce and will get worse (bigger budgets basically hijack talent). I already see this happening within the local tech talent recruitment.
3. GDPR will get some companies in trouble
GDPR is a real pain-in-the-butt for most companies. It’s probably the heaviest regulation on data introduced in a decade (or even longer). GPDR will regulate how you may process, hold and acquire data from EU based users.
No company can escape it because it’s enforced by the EU itself and comes with heavy fines if you create damages of any kind. If you have EU customers or users, having knowledge about GDPR is mandatory (unless you want to risk fines).
Not sure what GPDR is all about? No worries, Grab a cup of coffee and plan 10 minutes of focused reading on the Step-by-step GPDR guide for product managers.
4. AI will be on the rise in product
As I already mentioned a key change based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) from Google, we’ll see more and more products using machine learning for core features like search, automated interaction with users, creating metadata around data objects, etc.
We’re still at the beginning stages of machine learning which will become a industry and art by itself. It’s good to keep up with developments around the topic as this effect your product development somewhere down the line.
5. More teams will adopt OKR (with KPI)
You’re probably working with some KPI on your company at the moment and OKR may not be on your radar at this moment. Big chance it will be soon. OKR is basically a method defining (long-term) company goals in a way that its clear for every department what piece of the value puzzle they deliver and monitor how much progress you’re making.
Will OKR replace KPI’s entirely? No. They can actually work together creating better indicators for everyone within a company.
Here is a short expert article to help you understand the difference between OKR and KPI.
(BONUS) Precision medicine will enter mainstream medical care
This one is a bit off track but one that has been a main topic for 2017 on a personal level: medical research (cancer research in particular). During months of reading up on the world of medical care and cancer research, I discovered a lot is happening around something called Precision Medicine.
What is Precision Medicine?
Precision medicine is all about treating and preventing a disease that takes into account individual variables like environment, lifestyle and most important the genes of a person.
This approach will (mostly driven by machine learning combines with huge datasets) will give doctors and researchers the ability to accurately predict which treatment and prevention gameplan will work for a particular disease in which groups of people.
Precision medicine is a essential approach to treat a disease like cancer. Cancer is a genetics game and revealing root causes of cancer in genetics gives medical efforts more weapons to destroy cancer more accurately and find new treatments.
And there were some serious advances for precision medicine in 2017…
Like the first approved CAR T-cell therapy. first successful gene editing with CRISPR-Cas9 and an emerging market of precision medicine software tools to help simplify precision medicine treatments. We’ll see more advances like these begin to enter the mainstream medical care scene in 2018.
So if you’re interested in creating products within medical care, keep precision medicine on your radar.
Lets make even better products in 2018
Hope this article inspired you to get excited about get your (new) product to the next level in 2018. More in-depth product articles to come in the new year. Stay tuned!
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