2021 Australia & New Zealand
Product Teams Report

Last year, we posed the question ‘how do you do it?’ to tech teams across Australia and New Zealand. 

A lot has changed since then, and this year we found ourselves instead asking ‘how do you do it… remotely?’ 

Our 2021 report builds on the data gathered in 2020, and includes insights from 100 different businesses, plus recommendations to guide improvements in your team.

A guide by distributed teams, for distributed teams.

Let’s dive in.


The 2021 Australia and New Zealand Product Teams Report includes:



Insights from CEOs, Founders, developers, designers and product managers representing 100 organisations.



Actionable advice from our experienced team to help navigate product team delivery and improvements.



Get a sense of how your team stacks up against how teams doing well tackling product delivery.

Download the full report to read all the findings.

How do other people do it... remotely?

In this year’s report, we wanted to find out how leadership and strategy influences how well teams work, how teams can work together best to deliver business outcomes, and how the change to distributed working has impacted teams.

These are topics we’re always interested in because we see on a daily basis the way they impact a business’ ability to grow revenue. In short, the way teams work together and across a business can make it or break it.

So regardless of your business size and where you’re at in your growth journey, you’ll be able to pull out some key actions of your own to create improvements for your team.


If you’ve got questions or comments feel free to reach out via info@cogent.co. To be included in next year’s survey please subscribe here.

As wellbeing and mental health have stepped into the spotlight throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a big focus on team communication and engagement. It’s not enough to have a bunch of really talented, smart people – for products to be successful, teams need to also feel empowered and connected to what they’re doing.

Mark Wells

CEO at Cogent

Key Takeaways

1/ Distributed teams are the
new normal

97% of us don’t want to go into the office everyday anymore.

This means that the future of work will undoubtedly be distributed and begs the question, what’s the office going to be for?

It’s clear that teams will need to have processes, rituals, tools and tech to work effectively when they’re no longer sitting side-by-side in the long- term. It’s going to be critical to the team and the success of each business. To ignore this may risk a company’s ability to attract and retain the talent they need to achieve their business outcomes.

2/ Product Managers are key to team performance, but undervalued by those in leadership roles.

85% of team members say Product Managers have the greatest influence over a team’s goals and objectives.

When it comes to deciding a team’s goals and objectives, and what’s being included in product releases, Product Managers are seen to be the most influential. But leaders are viewing things a little differently, with 85% of them believing that Developers are still the key influencers and Product Managers are ranked less influential.

The data also shows a correlation between teams working well and the influence of a Product Manager. Conversely, those who reported their team isn’t working well also ranked the influence of Product Managers lower.

My goal is for teams to think really big about possibilities for the future, but in the same moment consider the realities of where we are now, what our customers need, the resources available and the competitive landscape.



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3/ There’s a shift from leader-centric prioritisation to a customer-centric one.

Customer research is becoming more important to decision making.

Compared to last year’s data, there’s been an increase in the influence that customer research is having on what teams ship (39% in 2021, up from 25% in 2020).

Leadership influence and the long-term product roadmap still take the top two spots in how teams prioritise work, but it’s great to see customer research moving up. 

Interestingly, the level of influence that leadership has on team priorities fell significantly this year (67% in 2020 compared to 46% in 2021). 

4/ Distributed working has an impact on expectations and perceptions around feature releases.

58% of leaders would like to see new features and product improvements shipped more frequently.

There’s an interesting correlation emerging this year between how effectively teams think they’re working in a distributed context, and expectations around frequency of releasing features.

Although actual release frequency hasn’t varied much between 2020 and 2021, leaders are expecting more. This is particularly true of respondents who are finding it difficult to work in a distributed team setting.

At Canva, we’ve recognised the positives that remote working can bring, but still love to come together to collaborate, share our crazy big goals, and celebrate our milestone launches.

We’ve always had that face-to-face vibe in our culture, so we’re aiming to balance the benefits of both working styles.




Download the full 50-page report