Building a good product requires more than technical know-how or creativity. It takes many more variables to work together to create a valuable product.
First, your perceptions must be correct about your user and their needs, the market, and the latest industry trends. But, how do we know that you’re on the right path? How do you avoid tunnel vision?
Certain frameworks can guide you. Frameworks developed by industry pioneers who have created life-changing products can undoubtedly lead you in the right direction. However, make sure that you are not overly reliant on a framework because, as you know, product management is primarily about thinking outside the box rather than following a set of rigid rules. So as you can see, product management is nuanced and there is no go-to place to learn this highly coveted discipline. Now you might be wondering – where to learn product management?
Before we move further into that, let’s make a few things clear.
First things first
A product manager’s competence is measured under a few key skills. The first one is to observe and recognize the issues a customer or a group of customers face. Secondly, a product manager should capture the real problem and address it in the most feasible and practical way.
A great product manager is also a visionary himself, he should have a holistic approach towards the work in his hands and be able to envision the future of his product and the impact that brings to the lives of its users.
But how do you develop such skills? Where do you learn it all?
Product management is not something you can learn overnight. If that were the case, the world would be teeming with excellent product managers. Mastering the skills requires a great deal of patience and perseverance, and only a few people put in the time and effort, so if you can, it will undoubtedly give you an advantage in the marketplace.
To become a great product manager on a primary level, you have to:
- Have an open mindset
- Develop a curious nature
- Avoid too much ‘by the book’ attitude
- Always look for opportunities to improve
- Don’t be shy to make mistakes or come up with silly ideas
- Build a unique framework in approaching and resolving an issue
- Focus on the user and his needs rather than you and your product
Once you have developed an understanding of the basics of being a product manager, now it’s time to get serious and add some industry – leading tools and techniques to your arsenal.
Online courses – Your go-to resource
Online courses are by far your best bet to start. There are several advantages to taking online courses through various platforms:
- Industry-leading faculties
- Self-paced and no rigid schedules
- Can have global exposure no matter where you are
- They are affordable both in terms of money and time
Let’s look at some good online platforms and the courses they offer:
Coursera is the world’s largest online course platform. It provides university and other institution courses and specializations. In addition, Coursera, unlike most other sites, offers the opportunity to acquire an authorized master’s degree.
There are mainly three types of programs in Coursera.
You may select from a variety of online product management courses. Each one is 4-6 weeks long and contains video lectures, reading materials, and community discussion forums. You will receive a course certificate once you have completed the course.
Specializations on Coursera
A series of courses, projects, and challenges are included in the specialization. Specific professional skills tailored to industry requirements can be acquired and expanded through Coursera’s specialization. Normally, it takes around 4-6 months to complete the specialization, and you will receive a certificate.
Unlike the courses, specialization charges you monthly around $39-$79, and if you can complete it in a short period you can save some money.
Online Coursera Degree
A university-recognized product management degree is available through Coursera. You will obtain a recognized master’s degree after 1-3 years of study. The fee varies from $15,000 to $25,000
Coursera for Business
Coursera for Business is the company’s professional learning platform. You may put together training packages for your staff. You may also measure your team’s engagement and success by analyzing their learning behavior.
You have the option of choosing between two distinct plans (Team and Enterprise). The cost per user per year starts at $400. Individual pricing might be obtained for larger enterprises.
Example: Digital Product Management: Modern Fundamentals by the University of Virginia.
edX is a non-profit company that provides online courses from American colleges. Harvard, MIT, and the University of British Columbia are among the institutions with which edX collaborates.
It also provides the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree. While all the courses are free to attend, you will have to pay a fee to get a certification.
edX Master’s degree
Students will obtain a complete Master’s degree—typically the same certificate that students get on-campus, such as a Master of Science in Computer Science or a Master of Science in Accounting. The duration is 1-3 years, and it costs around $10,000-$25,000.
Georgia Tech, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of California San Diego are among the universities that offer master’s degrees.
edX for Business
For companies, edX provides a second platform. You may train your staff with over 2,200 courses from 130+ of the world’s best schools and leading companies using this.
Example: Product Management Fundamentals by University of Maryland
Udemy covers over 50 languages and has over 100,000 courses from over 42,000 individual professors. Unlike other platforms, the product management courses are provided by independent professionals rather than institutions.
You can do courses in Udemy for under a couple of bucks, but Udemy is not a recognized educational institution. As a result, these completion certifications are rarely used for formal accreditation. However, some online courses provide extra credentials that are not available through Udemy.
Udemy for Business
The Udemy for Business program allows businesses to provide their workers with access to over 3,000 Udemy courses on a variety of topics. An analytics tool is included in the business model to measure staff engagement and effort. Different price options are available, beginning at $240.
Example: Become a Product Manager – Learn the Skills & Get the Job by Cole Mercer and Evan Kimbrell
4. Mind The Product
The traditional massive open online courses aren’t available on this platform (MOOCs). Despite this, we decided to include it on the list following several recommendations. Both online and offline learning may benefit from the Slack channel, offline training, conventions, and the community.
The MindTheProduct Slack channel is a place where active product managers can interact, ask questions, and learn from each other’s experiences.
Conferences on MTP
Conferences are held all around the world and include product presentations, training, and networking opportunities.
Through in-depth, interactive training sessions, Mind the Product Training gives you access to the expertise and cutting-edge perspective of professional product managers.
ProductTank is an informal meeting where people can exchange their experiences and knowledge in over 155 locations across the world. A group of product managers, designers, and developers who work together to create new products.
5. Product School
Product Management, Coding, Data Analytics, Digital Marketing, UX Design, and Product Leadership are among the six topics covered at Product School. These courses are available in person, online, or at one of the sites in the United States, Canada, or Europe.
All instructors in Product School are working product managers at major technical firms, which sets the Product School apart from other product manager training programs. The training is hands-on, tailored to fit into your schedule, and aimed at assisting you in effectively transitioning into a product role.
If you are unable to attend in person, online courses are available. The online courses are produced by the same product managers as the in-person courses and contain the same content.
6. LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networks out there. LinkedIn Learning has three types of courses: business, technology, and creativity.
If you have a LinkedIn Premium account, the courses are free.
Members who finish a product management course and watch all the videos will receive a certificate of completion from LinkedIn Learning. Because there are no exercises or examinations to perform, the credentials are not certified.
Career.pm is a career acceleration platform for product managers that provides online courses, mentoring, and a variety of other tools to help PMs, aspiring PMs, and PM companies achieve their goals.
They have a number of product management courses geared specifically for the product management community, including subjects like PM foundations, product business models, and more. Starting at $149 a year, career.pm provides numerous options to choose from.
Watching and listening alone won’t make you a great product manager and it all comes down to your ability to put them to practice. Joining product management forums on social media platforms like Slack and LinkedIn are one of the best ways to learn product management.
ProductManagerHQ, a Slack product community, for example, has a huge collection of tools and instructional content for new and seasoned PMs, including blogs, interviews with product executives, and even a one-week PM course. Their vibrant online community can also assist you with product management issues.
You may also join LinkedIn product management groups, such as the Product Management Networking Group, to network with other PMs, ask questions, and learn about industry trends.
Don’t forget to check out our list of communities for product managers here.
Learning on the go – Consume Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to get to the next level irrespective of where you are in your product management journey. They don’t take up any of your time, instead help you to make the most out of it. You can learn while driving or doing chores, or even when you stand in that long queue in Starbucks.
Here are some great product management podcasts you should definitely check.
In this podcast, Mike Fishbein is the host, and he interviews a variety of professionals and thought leaders. Venture capitalists, product executives, entrepreneurs. Of course, product managers are also among his visitors.
As a result, you’ll have an ever-valuable podcast. Every episode can teach you something new about your market or how to manage your sprints. You’ll also learn how to manage a team and develop better products.
The Product People episode library is chock-full of fantastic, thought-provoking talks for product managers. How to create habit-forming items, product validation, and product promotion are all noteworthy issues.
In fact, if you only have time to listen to one podcast, it is better to start with this one. Take a spin and learn about SaaS pricing structures, overcoming launch concerns, and productizing services.
Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and investor at Greylock, hosts the original podcast Masters of Scale. Reid demonstrates how firms develop from nothing to a billion dollars in each episode, putting his theories to the test with famous business executives. Masters of Scale is the first American television show to make a commitment to gender parity among its guests.
This podcast is a must-listen for anybody interested in learning about product management from the top senior product executives in a variety of fields. Explore subjects such as product management’s growing craft, industry trends, and many more insights into how the contemporary PM helps you experience “product love.”
This is an inspiring podcast in which Guy Raz investigates the backstories of some of the world’s most well-known corporations. How I Built This takes you on a trip through the lives of inventors, entrepreneurs, and idealists, as well as the movements they created.
To round off our collection, here’s one more product podcast. Suzanne Abate, the host of 100 PM. She’s on a quest to interview 100 active product managers from organizations of all kinds, from startups to corporations.
Hear what Suzanne had to say to product managers from Expedia, Trunk Club, Sonos, and other companies. She discusses everything from proxy analytics to hardware development to how to find (and keep) a product manager.
Have a holistic approach
The role of product manager demands a plethora of professional and interpersonal skills. For example, conveying your ideas to your own team in all its essence calls for excellent communication skills. Learning entrepreneurial skills and a few economic lessons along with communications skills has an essential role in your career.
In a competitive environment, every extra step you take will put you ahead at least a mile in the long run.
We highly recommend you to check these articles:
- Product management tools to have in your stack
- Key skills no one talks about Product Manager
- Is Product Management for me?
The above-mentioned platforms and courses are to give you an idea about how to get started or continue your journey into Product Management. But as we have mentioned earlier, product management cannot be taught in its entirety and mastering it requires a certain level of passion and perseverance along with the qualities we mentioned. Once you master those skills and develop your approach to building a product, you’ll have a fruitful career as a product manager.