Not so long ago, the job of product manager was about assessing market data, creating requirements, and managing the hand-off to sales/marketing. Maybe you’d talk to a customer somewhere in there and they’d tell you what features they wanted. But companies that manage product that way are dying.Being a product person today is a new game, and product managers are at the center of it. Today, particularly if your product is mostly digital, you might update it several times a day. Massive troves of data are available for making decisions and, at the same time, deep insights into customer motivation and experience are more important than ever. The job of the modern product manager is to charter a direction and create a successful working environment for all the actors involved in product success. It’s not a simple job or an easy job, but it is a meaningful job where you’ll be learning all the time.
This course will help you along your learning journey and prepare you with the skills and perspective you need to:
Create the actionable focus to successfully manage your product (week 1)
Focus your work using modern product management methods (week 2)
Manage new products and explore new product ideas (week 3)
Manage and amplify existing products (week 4)
This course is ideal for current product or general managers interested in today’s modern product management methods.
This course was developed with the generous support of the Batten Institute at UVA’s Darden School of Business. The Batten Institute’s mission is to improve the world through entrepreneurship and innovation: www.batteninstitute.org.
Achieving Focus and #Winning
• As a product manager, you and your team will always have more ideas and more requests than you can possibly manage. Making matters still more complicated, part of your job is to develop and then ‘sell’ a particular view of what should happen with your product to diverse stakeholders (engineering, marketing, etc.). How do you do it? Success requires an actionable, testable focus. The successful product manager identifies vivid, testable customer outcomes and creates focus around them. This week we’ll show you how to interface effectively with all your stakeholders to create that actionable focus.
Using Today’s Product Management Methods
• You’ve probably heard that the days of ‘build it and they will come’ are over. But what exactly should you be doing instead? There’s no shortage of material out there on how to be innovative–but you only have so much time. This week we’ll step through the method’s today’s most successful product managers are using and give you tips to “sell” those methods to your stakeholders. We’ll also show you how to analyze growth, engagement and monetization using qualitative and quantitative methods. You’ll finish the week with an understanding of which methods to apply when and hear from practitioners who are using these methods to make breakthrough products.
Exploring a New Product Idea
• Something on the order of 9 out of 10 new products fail. Those sound like daunting odds, but through disciplined exploration an effective PM knows how to make even the improbable probable. This week we’ll show you how to apply your understanding of modern PM methods to exploring new product ideas.
Amplifying an Existing Product
• If you want a product that does more than make a big splash, you’ll need to apply what you’ve learned here every week, every sprint to keep that product fresh and relevant. It’s not hard to let a great product get sidetracked and become irrelevant to its users–this happens all the time. Some figures show the portion of features on successful products that are regularly used to be well under 50%. Yikes! In this week, we’ll look at how successful product managers keep their products fresh and focused on valuable outcomes for their users. You’ll learn how to put a focused, sustainable, program in place to keep your product competitive.