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4 lessons for Product Management in a post-pandemic world

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Few societal changes occurred as quickly as the pivot to remote work following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) officially declaring COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. In the US alone, almost 45% of nearly 3,000 knowledge workers reported working remotely in March 2020, with 86% of newly remote workers making the switch because of the coronavirus pandemic. And overall, it is estimated that in key areas of companies’ business models, organisations’ adoption of technology sped up by three to seven years in a matter of months.

In a world of flux, change is the only constant. Even as we emerge from the shadow of COVID-19, the lessons learnt from that period of uncertainty can help inform future product and business strategies in an ever-changing environment. To learn how product management changed during COVID-19, we spoke to Irene, a product manager in Singapore working on cybersecurity products at a B2B telecommunications company and drew out 4 lessons that continue to resonate in a post-pandemic world.

1. Identify new value propositions for the users with existing products.

During the pandemic: For Irene, the shift to remote work presented a new opportunity to showcase the value proposition of their company’s products in a different context. Her team went back to review their earlier product roadmap to incorporate insights on relevant features important for users’ needs for data security during Covid-19.

With this new use case in mind, the team shifted their content marketing strategy to a heavier focus on emails and articles. Nor was format the only thing they adjusted. Recognising their customers’ top concern with ensuring cyber security for remote teams outside of the office, the team compiled some cyber security hygiene tips for their readers and demonstrated how their products could help customers achieve some of these best practices. Without having to create a product from scratch, the team innovatively tapped into existing resources and enhanced product features to capture a new market.

Post-pandemic applications: As Harvard Business School marketing professor Theodore Levitt puts it, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” Understanding users’ Jobs-to-be-Done and matching products to those needs can help uncover new value propositions and business opportunities, even without having to create new products.

2. Regular communication is key.

During the pandemic: To keep everyone in the loop about the project’s progress, Irene’s team held weekly 30-min calls so team members could align on the tasks they needed to complete, as well as identify any potential blockers.

Post-pandemic: Regular communication has and will always be vital, regardless of how employees work. As hybrid and remote meetings continue in a post-pandemic world, product managers can further do the following to ensure that meetings are productive and meaningful for all involved.

  • Use meeting templates such as IDOARTT to ensure that everyone is aware of the agenda and the desired meeting outcomes.
  • If the meeting’s purpose is to collect feedback/reviews, make sure to send out relevant documents far enough in advance.

Instead of emails, teams can also consider using communication tools such as Slack instead to get quick responses and increase team rapport. Collaboration tools have been shown to help remote workers gain a sense of workplace belonging, with nearly twice the number of weekly Slack users in the US reporting that working from home improved their sense of belonging compared to non-Slack users in the US.

Source: Report: Remote Work in the Age of Covid-19 by Slack, April 21, 2020

3. Go Agile, Not big.

During the pandemic: Using an Agile framework made it easier for Irene’s team to respond nimbly to the swiftly-changing and unpredictable nature of the evolving pandemic. By iterating on designs in sprints instead of “big bang” feature releases, teams were able to lower their risks of design failure while leaving room to respond quickly to new changes.

Post-pandemic: As the war in Ukraine, unprecedented inflation, and large-scale tech layoffs in the US show, the only predictable thing is change. Agile is useful for helping companies continue to stay relevant by obtaining user feedback early in the process and making necessary design tweaks and interventions before it is too late.

4. Create a project repository to get everyone on the same page

During the pandemic: Irene’s team was able to react swiftly and effectively to the changes brought on by COVID-19 by first reviewing an existing product roadmap they had, which allowed everyone on the team to have a common document for reference as they made their decisions and reviewed timelines.

Post-pandemic: Expanding on the idea of a common document, creating a “self-serve” project repository to centrally store important documents will go a long way in helping team members gain greater ownership and familiarity with a project, particularly if hybrid arrangements are still in place. Some useful documents to have include:

  • A project timeline for design sprints (Miro has some great templates)
  • A ReadMe document containing a project overview
  • Links to similar projects or past research

Over time, this will also help a company with knowledge management of its assets, helping to maintain institutional memory even with employee turnover.

Source: Miro


The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed workplaces, allowing for more flexibility in work than previously thought possible. As the world opens up, product managers will be best positioned to lead their teams by being responsive to market changes and the internal needs of their organisations and meeting their customers where they are at in their journey.

If you want to know more about user experience and its industry, do check out our other resources available on our websites, such as our articles, weekly webinars, and podcasts.

CuriousCore offers mid-career professionals specialized and career accelerator courses and we also provide practitioner-led masterclasses and consultations for organisations to improve their customer experience strategy and business growth.