Insight: Concepts, Applications, and Opportunities in the New Age of AI Product Management

The following insight is derived from a recent ‘Insights from the Field’ event featuring Aditi Joshi on the Fundamentals of AI Product Management.

Meet Our Guest Contributor:

Aditi Joshi | AI Program Lead at Google Cloud, Core ML

Aditi thrives in navigating the fast-paced world of product management, and enjoys tackling complex AI challenges at Google. Her experience spans teaching product management for six years in NYC to thousands of students, fellowships in privacy and security fields at Harvard and Yale, and mentoring rising startups at TechStars and Google for Startups Cloud. Aditi holds degrees from Yale and Stanford. 

For more information, visit Aditi’s LinkedIn profile and consider connecting with her.

Introduction: Why does this matter?

Understanding AI product management has become more crucial than ever, particularly in light of recent advancements in the spaces of AI and Machine Learning technologies punctuated by the proliferation of generative AI models. Considering the speed with which AI is becoming pervasive, having a strong grasp of AI concepts and frameworks is critical especially for aspiring AI product managers without significant technical (e.g., coding) background. This opens up exciting opportunities for non-technical product managers whilst making the field of AI product management more accessible, which is a precursor for innovating and building groundbreaking products that address complex, real-world challenges through leveraging cutting-edge technology. To thrive in the new age of AI product management, product managers may have to unlearn as well as embrace a new mindset.

The Problem: What is the key question and what specific problem does this question attempt to address?

This event set out to explore the process of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into product management with a focus on the challenges and adjustments necessary for non-technical individuals as they adopt an AI-driven approach to product management. The discussion emphasizes the importance of data quality, selection of appropriate algorithms, and ethical considerations when it comes to implementing AI in product management. Furthermore, the impact of AI on traditional product management practices, such as user journey mapping, and the development of product roadmaps that are indicative of a shift towards more data-driven and AI-informed strategies were discussed. As such, the need for product managers to continuously learn and adapt to effectively leverage AI in their products was underscored.

The Solution: What recommendations are stated to address the problem?

Upskilling for the AI revolution

Aditi advocates for a culture of continuous learning and adaptation among product managers. Staying abreast of the latest developments, engaging with the AI community including open source platforms, and experimenting with new AI tools and techniques are extremely essential for product managers to lead successful AI-powered projects. Here are additional insights regarding the goal of upskilling for the AI revolution: 

  • Staying prominent in the AI product management space necessitates a structured approach for enhancing knowledge and skill set in AI and machine learning technologies. A great place to start is by building a solid foundation in basic AI concepts including understanding different types of machine learning algorithms (e.g., supervised, unsupervised, and reinforced learning). This foundational knowledge is crucial for grasping how AI can be applied to solve complex problems and improve product offerings. 
  • Engaging with specialized courses and certifications offered by reputable institutions and online platforms could serve as a more intentional conduit to upskilling. These educational resources cover a wide range of topics, from data science and analytics to advanced machine learning techniques and AI strategy. In this regard, the importance of practical, hands-on experience gained through projects and collaborations, which allows product managers to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios cannot be understated.
  • Basic data literacy is a must-have for product managers in the AI space. Understanding data collection methods, possessing a working knowledge of basic data analysis tools, and the ability to derive actionable insights from data are all essential skills for AI product managers. In addition, product managers must learn to work closely with data scientists and engineers in order to translate business requirements into technical specifications, and vice versa. 

In general, product managers are encouraged to view these challenges as opportunities for innovating and driving significant value for customers and businesses alike.

The Implications: What broader implications does this topic have on policy and practice, and what could be done to augment positive impacts and mitigate negative consequences?

The AI mindset shift 

In this new age, product managers must undergo a paradigm shift to adapt to an AI-centric world. This shift is not merely about acquiring new technical skills; it’s also about fundamentally rethinking how product development processes are approached, managed, and executed. The traditional role of product managers–which used to focus on defining product features, conducting market research, and outlining user experiences–must now expand to include a robust understanding of AI and its implications. This expansion is critical because AI and machine learning algorithms operate differently from traditional software, relying heavily on data to learn and make decisions. Therefore, product managers need to shift from a deterministic approach, where outputs are predicted based on predefined rules, to a probabilistic approach, which acknowledges the inherent uncertainties and variabilities in AI-driven outcomes. A few key elements of this mindset shift are discussed below: 

  • Embracing the practice of customer centricity will be the core of this mindset shift, especially for for-profit businesses. In an AI-driven world, understanding customers’ needs and pain points becomes even more nuanced. Product managers must not only gather customer insights through traditional means but also interpret and leverage vast amounts of data to predict and meet customer needs in innovative ways. This requires a working understanding of data analytics and the ability to use data to train AI models to deliver personalized and dynamic user experiences. 
  • Another critical element of the AI mindset shift entails the need for product managers to become conversant with the language of AI and machine learning. This doesn’t mean they need to become data scientists but rather that they should understand the capabilities, limitations, and applications of various AI technologies. For example, it will become increasingly important for product managers to collaborate effectively with data scientists and engineers in order to translate business objectives into AI projects that are feasible, valuable, and aligned with the company’s strategic goals. In this re-defined role, product managers need to be adept at defining clear objectives for AI initiatives such as selecting the appropriate machine learning models and understanding the implications of data quality and availability.  
  • Last but certainly not least, there is the critical matter of ethics surrounding AI that requires the attention of product managers–mainly concerning biases in data and algorithms–as well as to be cognizant of the implications of AI on privacy and security. Advocating for a responsible AI deployment while emphasizing the need for transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI systems is becoming an integral part of the AI product management profession. As such, product managers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with emerging AI ethics guidelines and frameworks to ensure their products contribute positively to society and do not perpetuate existing harm or worse yet create new ones.

Supplemental Resources


The “Insights from the Field” initiative is a platform for guest contributors – who are industry leaders, subject-matter experts, and leading academics – to share their expert opinions and valuable perspectives on topics related to the fields of Business, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML). Our guest contributors bring a wealth of knowledge and experiences in their respective fields, and we believe that their insights can significantly enrich our community’s understanding of the dynamic and intertwined spaces of business, technology, and society. 

It’s important to note, however, that the Digital, Data, and Design (D^3) Institute does not explicitly endorse opinions expressed by our guest contributors. With this initiative, we hope to facilitate the exchange of diverse perspectives and encourage critical thinking, with an overarching goal of fostering meaningful and informed discussions on topics we consider are important to our community.

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