Product Management in Information Technology
Description: This introductory course (6 Units) is designed for MISM and MSIT students who are interested in exploring the roles and responsibilities of product management. Product managers provide a critical leadership role and have the responsibility of making the product or service successful through planning, development and marketing activities. They must manage the product in a complex, fluid environment affected by many influences such as customer needs, competitive offerings and threats, strategic planning and development cycles, budgetary constraints, product costs, and “make vs. buy” decisions – to name just a few. While these roles and responsibilities appear critical (as well as interesting) to the success of a product or service, product management is not always part of an organization, at least at first. Companies typically implement the product management function when a lack of coordination, communication and planning cause ineffective product developments, missed schedules, lost revenues, and disgruntled sales and development personnel (much less, dissatisfied customers!). Engineers and technical support personnel who show some level of interest or knowledge about the customer, competition, and/or business are “promoted” to product manager roles, often with little or no product management training or understanding. Note that these situations apply not only to products offered to “external” customers, but also to products and services offered by IT to “internal” customers (i.e. co-workers). Read any IT-oriented business journal these days, and one will quickly understand the need for IT to be relevant to the business. This can be difficult for IT personnel who do not fully appreciate their “customers” needs, much less competition. As such, this course discusses the need for product management roles and responsibilities for both external and internal products. Product management jobs are ideally suited for those who want a leadership role that combines one’s business interests with one’s technical knowledge and skills. This course assumes the students have plenty of other courses and experiences related to technical skills and knowledge; so, this course focuses on the business and managerial considerations, methods and tools of the product management function.
Learning Outcomes: 1. Define product management 2. Summarize the needs and requirements of product management; 3. Describe the “4 pillars” of product management’s roles and responsibilities across the product lifecycle, along with base responsibilities, regardless of lifecycle phase; 4. Analyze how product management can be applied to products and services that are both external and internal to an organization; 5. Describe how product management fits and interacts within organizations; 6. Be aware of common product management methods and tools, along with those specific to the four product life-cycle phases as follows: a. Common Methods and Tools i. Identify common product management methods and tools b. Product Strategy i. Identify and analyze the stages and deliverables associated with development of a strategy ii. Identify the components associated with a strategic proposal c. Product Development i. Identify the stages and deliverables associated with product development d. Product Marketing i. Identify the stages and deliverables associated with product marketing ii. Identify the components associated with a product marketing plan e. End of Life i. Identify the stages and deliverables associated with a product’s end of life 7. Describe challenges and issues associated with product management