Product Management Interview Themes: What is Multi-Generational Product Planning?

Here at Collingwood, we’re on our ninth product management search this year. And often we’re handling MD searches where product strategising is a core skill.  Something that has cropped up in senior-level discussions is multi-generational product planning (MGPP). It’s not something that commonly occurs but it is being talked about at a senior level. Such thinking is useful to be aware of and have an opinion on at interview stage. The approaches are not new and leaders such as Paul O’Connor have been advising on them for years.

MGPP is a roadmap that lays out a timeline sequence of key activities related to a product line. It is particularly suited to product lines with design platforms as opposed to intangible service platforms.

For example:

  • Generation I: Supplying the segments in the market that do not have this product.
  • Generation II: Capturing market needs and supplying new target markets.
  • Generation III: Delivering productivity breakthroughs to the customers or gaining a competitive edge via established technical leadership, for example.

 MGPP appears to be defensive since it prepares for an unknown future but it can also be seen as offensive. 


  • Focuses on the long term, increases speed to market and reduces development risk.
  • Controls scope additions/changes to current design.
  • Prevents products/services/processes from stagnating while the market changes around them.
  • Allows development teams to push new features or potential attributes of an offering into a “next-generation” development project thus enabling greater specificity to planning and collaboration across functions.
  • It freezes the specification of the new offering and thereby helping project management and engineering design avoid project creep.
  • Suggests and supports planned continuous renewal which can be very healthy as long as, of course, it reflects the customers’ needs and new offerings are competitive.

Collingwood Search’s technology practice is often targeting product managers to move into operational or commercial roles in medium-sized multinational businesses. We also regularly work on general management and sales searches.

Contact Jordan Taylor or Justin Carpenter on 00 44( 0)1829 732374 to find out more.