Introduction to Product Management // DESIGN 344, BUSINESS 324
Jason Schwartz, Founder, Matchbook
First session meets Monday, January 16th from 8:00 - 9:30 pm
This 4-session series will provide beginners with a practical introduction to key product management skills. It will teach best practices for navigating the product development process, starting with tools for evaluating the viability of early ideas, and culminating in the creation of detailed product specs that are developer-ready. Take-home exercises will help students apply these principles to their own work after class.
Students can sign up for a single session, or the entire series.
Session One: Is Your Idea Worth Working On? (1/16, 8-9:30 pm)
Learn how to tell if an idea is market-worthy well before it’s market-ready.
When you’re ready to turn an idea into something more concrete, there are a lot of important things to consider before you take it to market. This session will teach students how to break down an idea into its primary parts and assumptions, and critically assess the viability and feasibility of those parts.
Then, it will provide tools for testing those assumptions and gathering supporting data. Additionally, it will provide general rules around what works and what doesn’t - frameworks that help quickly assess the success of current and future products.
Session Two: What Features Should Your Product Have? (1/30, 8-9:30 pm)
Get toward a minimum viable product.
Learn how to efficiently test your early product’s market potential. This session will explain why having an MVP is so important and provide a detailed overview of how to test its basic feature set. Students will learn how to make each feature fight for its right to exist, and how to make clear, quick decisions about what to leave out.
It will also introduce some research methodology basics, such as how to ID and profile potential users, the role of personas/behaviors, and the types of research that you can conduct (focus groups, ethnographic, usability testing, surveys, analytics, and more).
Session Three: How Product is Built (3/5, 8-9:30 pm)
Tools, roles, timelines, and more.
This session will provide a high-level overview of the entire process of building software, including best practices for mobile development. It will break down the various skills and resources that are required - product, UX, design, development, project management, and QA - and explain what to expect from each role and who should fill it.
Session Four: Creating a Product Spec (3/19, 8-9:30 pm)
Making it real.
Learn everything you need to know about delivering an effective product spec, including how the spec and wireframes work together, and how to best organize a spec.
Through case studies and best practices, students will discover the appropriate level of detail a spec requires, with the goal of creating a spec that any developer, even an outsourced one, can build to.
Jason Schwartz is the founder of Matchbook, an iPhone app for remembering places like restaurants, bars, and shops. Matchbook has been repeatedly featured by Apple, so you're in good hands. He regularly consults in the Daily Deals space on product and metrics, and was formerly a product manager and UX designer at Angelsoft.net. You can find him here and here.
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