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The Actual Amount of Time Product Managers Spend with Customers

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Last week I wrote a post about the percent of time product team members believe product managers spend with customers. Interestingly, it turns out that product team members hold a rosier view of how much time product managers actually spend in the field than product managers and owners do. In fact, when you isolate product manager and owner responses a more conservative picture emerges.

First a Refresher

Last week I shared this graphic illustrating the feedback from product team members in answer to the following question “How Much Time Do Product Managers Spend in the Field in Your Organization?


Actuation Consulting, the World's Leading Product Management Consulting and Training Organization

I went on to detail some additional specifics. “Respondents surveyed indicate that more than 40% of their product managers spend at least 15% of their time in the field and 12.5% of this group believe their product managers devote more than 30% of their time to fieldwork where they talk to customers, conduct market research, attend tradeshows and interact with others in the field. On the other hand, more than 43% of respondents – a slightly larger group – see product managers (43.3%) spending 15% or less of their time in the field, a good portion of this group (14.8%) seeing their product managers rarely leaving the building at all.”

What Product Managers and Owners Actually Say

However, when you hone in on product manager and owner responses a more nuanced picture emerges. 44% of product managers and owners indicate that they spend between 1% and 15% of their time engaging with customers. The clear majority.

Additionally, 25% of product managers and owners spend 15% to 30% in the field. This is closely followed by those “who rarely leave the building” at 21%. Finally, a minority of product managers, 10%, actually spend more time engaging with customers.


While not earth shattering the difference between these two sets of responses points to the fact that product manager and owner responses skew toward the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to the amount of time they actually spend with customers. It is disheartening to see that 21% of product managers and owners are only rarely able to engage with clients and prospects.

How much time do you spend with customers?


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