This course is entirely about managing products the traditional way. In specific, my focus is on day-to-day product management skills for B2B type of companies, where you are making, marketing and selling products to business entities, not end consumers.
Interviewing for your first product management job makes you feel you've just been presented with a chicken and egg problem. The hiring manager says, "Well, you don't have any PM experience," and you are thinking, "How am I going to get that experience if they don't give me a chance to do the job first!"
Here's the thing. When PM hiring manager says you don't have experience, very likely she is indirectly saying this: "I am not seeing the PM mindset in you."
It's indeed a chicken and egg problem, right? How do you get that PM mindset without actually doing the PM job?
Don't let that hiring manager's feedback discourage you. Take it from me, it is very much possible to get into that product management mindset. It is very much possible to switch from an engineering role to a product management role. In fact people with technical background are most suitable for product management roles.
However, there is one big--very big--barrier that slows, sometimes entirely preventing, one from getting into product management.
This barrier is how you think, how you talk, what kind of language you use, and what impression you give to product management hiring manager. This is that "PM mindset."
It is a barrier because nothing in the engineering, design and development experience will give you that PM mindset; but at the same time, the PM hiring manager will look for it in a candidate.
My suggestion is this: watch the intro video in this course. Then enroll in this course. And sit through each video and finish it. You don't have to take any notes or anything. Just let your mind relax and think about what I am saying in the videos.
Finish the videos.
Finish the videos, that's important. Then think about what this "PM mindset" is. I guarantee you, you will know a lot more about it then. Keep using that mindset to revise your resume, to change the way you talk, to change the way you use the language when you talk to PM hiring managers.
I created this course because I've seen others struggle to become good in product management, and I believe my experience--with the lessons learned over 21 years of Silicon Valley life in technology profession--can offer useful guidance to others looking to shift into product management.
This course is intended for beginners; no prior product management experience is needed. You don't even have to know technology, for that matter. Just bring your passion.
The course is organized primarily into 34 lectures (33 video lectures running over 6 hours.)
I expect to add further material as we go along and I get substantial feedback.
So, please join me as we get started.
Instead of starting off by asking, "What is product management?" we start by asking a better question, "What is expected from a product manager?"
Go beyond the technical aspects of product management, and you'll see that it is really a discipline of managing conflicts.
The #1 skillset you will need to do your job as a product manager is to make a few key decisions. This video walks through what these key decisions are.
To make your decisions, you first need good information. And for that, you need to know what are the right questions to ask, so you will dig up valuable information for your decision making.
We all have seen the roadmap charts, but as a product manager you need to develop the roadmaps. The key questions that we raised in earlier lecture will naturally lend themselves into a roadmap thinking. This video will elaborate this.
Continuation and completion of the previous lecture.
Any product manager, at least in the technology companies, will have to ask a set of questions and pull together answers to these questions. This activity is managed by the New Product Introduction process. This video will introduce the NPI process.
Though it is called "New Production Introduction" process, there are a few limits to when and where one can apply this process.
Within the NPI process, there are multiple phases, as explained in the earlier video. Each phase requires the product manager to answer questions with varying level of rigor and thorough detail. This video describes the preliminary phase of the NPI process.
This video explains the later, more rigorous phase of Product Funding (PF), where the actual product funding decisions are made.
With the understanding of NPI process behind us, now the real definition of product will begin.
An example scenario where marketing and engineering agree on how to proceed with preliminary product investigation effort, while a parallel, more thorough, product definition task is being done by the product manager.
Summary of topics covered so far, and sync up with next few topics to be covered.
Diving into the business case preparation. Before getting into the details, this video lecture takes a look at the end goal of this business case exercise, so that we know exactly what to shoot for.
With the target of business case firmly in front of us, we now backup to gather the market analysis data in order to reach our goal. We take this approach because it works better to understand how it is done. In reality the market analysis is done first.
A walkthrough of an example showing how top-down market analysis is done.
Bottom-up market analysis example, and explanation of how to combine (or reconcile) both top-down and bottom-up approaches.
An illustration, using example, of how to calculate and arrive at Return on Investment (ROI) and Gross Margin financial measures.
We know that talking to customer is always recommended, but going beyond this generality, how, in specific, does it help? And how to take full advantage of talking to the customer for early feedback?
When you do indeed decide to approach the customer for product concept validation, how do you actually do this task? It’s more than calling up the customer.
Competition and Differentiation go together. Thinking about competition really is thinking about differentiation. How then, does differentiation happen?
Before you even being the task of product development, it is time to lay out a complete plan on how you intend to put the product in the hands of the customer. In what different ways? An overview of go-to-market plan thinking.
Basics of managing product requirements.
We won’t go into the details of project management, but will cover a few basic beginning errors to avoid when you are working with engineering groups.
Summary of topics covered so far.
Now you have all the information to go to the Product Funding phase of the NPRB. Next you need to put this information in a methodical document called MRD. Explanation and a walkthrough of a sample MRD and PRD.
A few days before the NPRB presentation you need to pull together all the essential and supporting elements to make your product funding pitch. Explanation of how to approach making this presentation.
Update, December 2014. My new venture is Riffiti, a mobile app for a new way of learning anything.
I am a Silicon Valley technology business executive with 20 years of experience in the markets of wireless, mobile, semiconductors, software and hardware. Until recently I was at Broadcom. Prior to that I was a co-founder of Silicon Valley-based startup (bootstrapped) called wilfow tv. Until February 2012 I was at Legend Silicon (an Intel Capital-funded fabless startup) with two hats, Vice president of Product Management and Chief Operating Officer.
Technology business, especially here in Silicon Valley, is so interesting to me because of one reason: product management. I love it, and thrive in it. It is true what they say, that a product manager is really a mini-CEO.