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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Training the Product Manager: An Inventory

I recently started a thread in the enormous LinkedIn Networking Product Management group about appropriate training "topics" for product managers. As a provider of product management training (see for details), I've been trying to assess how broad the need for training is in the product management community. I seeded the discussion with what I considered a short list of no-brainers, expecting a few folks to chime in with another topic or two:
  • Core product management (product life cycle, release management, product strategy etc)
  • Negotiation
  • Presentation Skills
  • Leadership
  • Business Planning
  • Product marketing.
I was extremely gratified to see far more responses than I expected (in the low 20s as of this writing). In my original post, I committed to consolidating the results and publishing them. I captured feedback in a mind map in a public Google Drive folder so that it will be available to anyone interested as it evolves. I've posted it as a PDF and a native XMind file. You can view/edit the XMind map if you so choose with the free version of their software.

I added comments to many nodes, but the general categories of training I identified were:
  • Product Management
  • Adjacent (topics related to other disciplines like marketing and sales and general professional training)
  • Technology
  • Organization-specific
  • Other
I wrestled with categorizing some of them so I'm sure others will have a different opinion. Based on feedback I get and new "discoveries", I'll update the map over time. My sincere thanks to all who chimed in and all that will.

I'm looking forward to seeing the map evolve with input from an even broader community!


  1. Nice work and thought process! The only change that comes to mind is moving "value proposition" to Product Management "core". Creating a Value Proposition - at least according to the definition I have in mind - is more than a marketing messaging task. It is the definition of the value (promise, differentiation, support) of the product or service for the target audience relative to it's "price/effort/risk". Engineering then is challenged with building a product that meets these value prop requirements.

  2. I agree Eckhart! I'll adjust the map.