Training Subject Matter

Formal product management training programs have evolved alongside the discipline itself, but unlike the standardized training programs that are available worldwide for universal subject matter such as computer programming or project management, the plethora of product management training programs offered by different vendors are extremely inconsistent. They are all based on and advocate drastically different concepts and teach markedly different practices.

There is ongoing interest and discussion about product management and this has generated a lot of digital information about product management on the internet in the form of articles, blog posts, presentations, webinars, group discussions, etc. The resulting overwhelming mass of digital information reflects the diversity and opposing interpretations as to how to define, explain, describe, and organizationally place product management.

Product management training vendors equally offer classroom-based training programs that drastically differ and present curriculums that advance their own particular perspective on product management.

Some vendors promulgate the idea that product management is a generalization (aka CEO of the Product) and not a specialization. With such a broad definition it is possible to fit almost anything into the realm of product management and indeed these vendors’ highly generalized training curriculums are reflective of that. Some vendors view product management as being overwhelmingly and inextricably tied to product development and thus their training curriculums are very technical and focused on the development project. Other training vendors’ curriculums are deeply rooted in theoretical academia and some curriculums are limited to being wholly centered on sharing one specific instructor’s previous workplace experience.

Regardless of the particular perspective that the vendor is promoting, the centerpiece of the curriculum must be a consistent and complete product management methodology. Otherwise, and without any methodological foundation, all the unfounded assertions put forward in the training curriculum constitute subjective supposition and conjecture and they are not cogent arguments by any measure. Such assertions can be easily disproved with methodological counterarguments.

A methodologically-based professional product management training program should provide the following:

  • • A structured approach to product management, resulting in less time spent arriving at product management decisions.
  • • A comprehensive set of tools, concepts, models, and procedures, resulting in a more effective execution of product management processes.
  • • A clearer understanding of the product management process and its principles, resulting in greater potential to deliver successful products.
  • • Conventions on “how to do” and not just “what to do”, resulting in more efficient effort spent on performing the appropriate product management activities.
  • • A comprehensive approach to product management that considers the most relevant contributing factors, resulting in more complete and realistic product management decisions.
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