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VPs and Directors of Product Management: Finding Excellence

Succeeding in an intense, stressful, invigorating job
Instructor:
Todd Birzer
885 students enrolled
English [Auto]
At the completion of this course, you will have the tools and approaches you need to find excellence as a VP/Director of Product Management - managing four key relationships (with executives, engineers, sales and marketing, and your product managers), and meeting their needs by running ten key processes (spanning market intelligence, strategy, new product development, sales support, and structuring, building, and guiding a product team)

This job of a VP or Director of Product Management, or Head of Product, is incredibly tough and has incredible upside opportunities. In this intense, stressful role, we all need help. This course has been designed to help you find excellence in this role, to help you find success.

We’ll look at four key relationships that we need to manage well – with our executive leadership teams, with our engineering and technical teams, with sales, marketing, and customer support teams, and with our own product management team.

These groups all have different needs from us, and to meet these needs we’ll step through ten key processes. Seven of the processes guide the pace and content of our teams’ product management work, including market intelligence, strategy, new product development, and sales support. An additional three processes are focused on building, guiding, and structuring a product team, and finding the magic of teamwork.

This course includes practice activities, company examples, case studies, step-by-step guidance, and templates. The examples span all the varieties of product management – including software, hardware, and services. All tools, templates, and course materials are available for download.

If you are in this job today, or are a senior product manager looking to move into this role, my goal is to get you the knowledge, approaches, and tools you need to find excellence.

It’s a crazy, tough, rewarding job, and we all need help.

I hope you’ll join us!

Introduction

1
Introduction

In this introductory lecture, we talk about the course goals and approach, and also the challenges and opportunities of the VP/Director of Product Management role.

2
Practice Activity: Product team leadership self-assessment

In this practice activity, you can do a self-assessment on your product team leadership skills and experience.

Working with executive leadership teams

1
Executive teams: Common goals and natural tensions

We'll talk about our common goals with executive leadership teams, and some natural and predictable tensions.

2
What executive leadership teams need from us

We'll use the Kano model to discuss what executive teams need from product management teams (and us).

3
Practice Activity: Executive team needs

In this practice activity, we'll customize executive team needs for your company and your executive team.

4
Market analysis

We'll discuss how to do market analysis, and use a company like Next Insurance as an example.

5
Market analysis as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

We'll get very practical in this lecture, and talk about how you - as a VP/Director of Product Management - can guide a team to do market analysis.

6
Customer analysis

We'll talk about the importance of direct conversations with real customers in this lecture.

7
Practice Activity: Team self-assessment on customer interviews

In this practice activity, you can do a self-assessment of your team's customer interviews.

8
Interviewing customers

We talk about how to do excellent customer interviews in this lecture.

9
Building organizational support for customer interviews

Some organizations are not receptive to product management conducting customer interviews. We'll talk about how to build organizational support.

10
Customer interviews as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

We'll look at the step-by-step approach you can use to guide your teams for customer interviews.

11
Competitive analysis

We'll step through a competitive analysis approach in this lecture - using video conferencing as the example.

12
Disruptive technology

Disruptive technology can knock back well-established companies. We'll talk about the risks and opportunities.

13
Competitive analysis as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

We'll get very practical in this lecture - how you, as a VP/Director of Product Management, can organize your team to do competitive analysis.

14
Product vision and objectives

We'll talk about product vision and objectives in this lecture, and how it fits as part of an overall strategy development process.

15
Practice Activity: Product vision and objectives

For this practice activity, you can use a template to draft a product vision and objectives for your product.

16
Product strategy

We talk about the elements of a product strategy - and competitive advantage - in this lecture.

17
Practice Activity: Product strategy

In this practice activity, you can use a template to draft a product strategy.

18
Operationalizing your strategy and tracking metrics

We'll look at how to operationalize a strategy, and track key metrics quarter-by-quarter.

19
Product strategy as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

In this lecture, we take a practical step-by-step view on how you can lead a product team to create a strategy.

20
Working with executive teams

Test what you have learned about working with executive leadership teams

Working with engineering and technical teams

1
Engineering and technical teams: Common goals and natural tensions

In this lecture, we'll look at the common goals we share with our engineering and technical teams, and some natural and predictable tensions.

2
What engineering needs from product management

We'll use the Kano model to look at what engineering and technical teams need from us.

3
Practice Activity: Engineering needs from product management

In this practice activity, you will customize the needs of engineering and technical teams for your company.

4
Roadmapping

In this lecture, we'll look at the importance (and dangers) of doing roadmaps, and show different approaches and tools.

5
Roadmapping as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

We'll look at step-by-step process for creating roadmaps as a VP/Director of Product Management.

6
Practice Activity: Roadmaps

In this practice activity, you create a draft roadmap of your product or product portfolio.

7
Objectives and key results (OKRs)

In this lecture, we talk about objectives and key results (OKRs) and use a company like Healthicity as our example.

8
OKRs as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

We'll talk about specific steps to guide a team to create OKRs.

9
Practice Activity: Objective and key results (OKRs)

In this practice activity, you can use an OKR template, or a software tool, to craft OKRs for your products.

10
Development buckets

In this lecture, we look at the "development buckets" approach to prioritize development efforts, and find the right balance.

11
Case study: Prioritization and roadmapping

We'll step through a case study on prioritization, using a health care compliance company as our example.

12
Chris Rock and product management

Chris Rock would never consider himself as a product manager, but he acts like one. In this lecture, we will talk about what he does exceptionally well.

13
Discovery and delivery

We talk about the new product development approach "discovery and delivery" in this lecture.

14
Stage-gates

Stage-gates is a new product development approach used by many companies. We compare it to discovery and delivery in this lecture.

15
Testing product concepts

We talk about how you and your team can test product concepts in this lecture.

16
Product analytics

We look at product analytics and experimentation in this lecture.

17
Practice Activity: Discovery and delivery self-assessment

We'll do a "discovery and delivery" self-assessment in this practice activity.

18
Discovery and delivery as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

We'll get very practical, and look at how you can run a discovery and delivery process with your team.

19
Case study: Discovery and delivery

In this "discovery and delivery" case study, we use a company similar to Canadian start-up Motorleaf as our example.

20
Successfully working with engineering and technical teams

In this lecture, we wrap up our section on successfully working with engineering teams.

21
Working with engineering and technical teams

Test what you have learned about successfully working with engineering and technical teams.

Working with sales, marketing, and customer support teams

1
Sales, marketing, and customer support teams: Common goals and natural tensions

In this lecture, we look at our common goals with outbound revenue teams, and some natural tensions.

2
What sales, marketing, and customer support teams need from product management

We look at the needs outbound revenue teams have of us - using the Kano model -  in this lecture.

3
Practice Activity: Sales, marketing, and customer support teams' needs

In this practice activity, let's customize the needs of sales, marketing, and customer support teams for your company and your products.

4
Sales support

We talk about the "rules of the road" for supporting a sales team in this lecture.

5
Sales enablement tools

We look at a set of sales enablement tools in this lecture.

6
Practice Activity: Sales tools assessment

In this practice activity, we do an assessment of your team's sales enablement tools.

7
Supporting a sales team: Actions and deliverables

In this lecture, we look at our day-to-day actions and deliverables to support sales.

8
Supporting a sales team as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

In this lecture, we spell out five key steps to support a sales team.

9
Case study: Sales team support

We use an example of a Norwegian aquaculture technology company in this case study (and practice activity) on sales support.

10
New product launch

We look at the importance of impactful new product launches in this lecture.

11
Launch timing

As VPs/Directors of Product Management, we often get pushed to launch products before they are ready. In this lecture, we look at the factors to help determine when to say "yes" and when to say "no."

12
New product launch as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

In this lecture, we look at seven key steps to manage new product launches as a VP/Director.

13
Best practice example: New product launch

In this lecture, we look at new product launches from Lytx - a San Diego-based company that has very impactful launches.

14
Finding growth

In this lecture, we look at finding growth for your products across the product lifecycle.

15
Practice Activity: Finding growth

Let's look for growth with your products in this practice activity.

16
Finding growth as a VP/Director: Step-by-step

In this lecture, we'll look at six key steps to work with your team to find growth.

17
Case study: Growing a venture-backed startup business

Let's look at Udemy in this lecture - and its spectacular growth over the past ten years.

18
Successfully working with sales, marketing, and customer support teams

We conclude our section on working with sales, marketing, and customer support teams in this lecture.

19
Working with sales, marketing, and customer support teams

Check what you have learned about working with sales, marketing, and customer support teams.

Successfully managing a product team

1
Product teams: Common goals and natural tensions

In this lecture, we discuss the common goals and natural tensions we have with our own product team staff.

2
What product teams need from us

We look at what our product team needs from us in this lecture, using the Kano model.

3
Practice Activity: Product team needs

In this practice activity, let's customize the Kano model needs for your product team.

4
Structuring a product team: Rules of the road

We look at six rules of the road for designing product teams in this lecture.

5
Practice Activity: Product team structure self-assessment

In this practice activity, you can do a self-assessment on the structure of your product team.

6
Structuring a product team: Team design

We look at seven product team structures in this lecture, and compare them versus our "rules of the road"

7
Case study: Team design

In this case study, we'll use the San Francisco-based startup Nauto as our model. We'll look at structuring a product team in a company like Nauto.

8
Creating a one-year-out organization plan

We'll look at a creating a one-year-out organization plan in this lecture.

9
Recruiting

In this lecture, we'll talk about how to find and recruit product managers for your team.

10
Interviewing and hiring

We'll talk about interviewing and hiring product managers in this lecture.

11
Onboarding new staff

Onboarding is critical in the first 90 days to have a successful hire. We'll talk about four onboarding goals in this lecture.

12
Guiding, coaching, and training a team

We discuss effectively guiding, coaching, and training a product team in this lecture.

13
Creating teamwork (finding the magic)

We talk about four factors to get right when setting up teams - so that they can find the magic of teamwork.

14
Successfully managing a product team

Check what you have learned about managing a product team.

Course wrap-up

1
The first 90 days

The first 90 days on the job are critical to find success as a VP or Director of Product Management. We'll talk about how to approach these tough, crazy, rewarding first days.

2
Course wrap-up

We wrap up the course in this lecture. I hope you find excellence in this role!

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VPs and Directors of Product Management: Finding Excellence
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