Sunday, December 17, 2006

Practical Product Management

There are not many training courses or training companies which impart training in Product Management.

Product Management is not covered in adequate detail in MBA programs. Even those who specialize in 'Marketing' get to learn more about 'Marketing' which is only a piece of the product management. For any role in software development, exposure to product management can be helpful because what we develop or help get developed is a product or service which is owned by someone with designation of 'product manager'. It does not matter if anyone understands what that role is meant to be.

Pragmatic Marketing a niche training organizations which provides several training courses meant for product managers. The most useful and generic one which aims to provide good basic foundation in 'real' product management is 'Practical Product Management'. This 2 day course taught by experienced trainers is a good place to start and depending on your interest you can choose to do additional courses in requirements, marketing etc.

Pragmatic Marketing also offers a certification which tests applicants on the basics learnt in their course. It is a certification that is gaining credibility in the market. With everything being equal, employers certainly prefer someone with such credentials because that shows that the person has gone an extra mile to augment his/her knowledge.

I took PPM course recently in Boston taught by Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing, Outstanding class and outstanding instructor. There is a lot of material which is covered. So, it's fast paced class without unnecessary role plays or similar such rituals which many such soft training programs suffer from. Steve Johnson as an instructor is excellent. He draws from his diverse experience and delivers good training in his inimitable style packed with a punch of humor. 2 days well spent.

Certification test is also well developed which aims to test fundamentals learnt in the course.

Course material is good. Not bulky. Meant for frequent referring. Many pointers to where to find additional information. Tonnes of templates. A lot supporting material on their web site.

All in all a great training program. Worth the money. These classes are held all thru the US often. Try if you want to get a head start in product management. Even if you do not do product management you can teach a thing or two to people who are doing something totally different in the name of 'product management'. That's the tragedy of software engineering. Anyone can become anyone without formal training. Try that in electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Unless we develop a sense of professionalism in software engineering with clear focus on development, product management, project management, our field is going to continue to much maligned. But trends are indeed changing. It is heartening to see employers insisting on PMI certification for project managers and SCRUM certification for all those who claim to do agile development and other technical certifications for technical experts. Way to go...


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