CC Image Courtesy of Ritesh Man Tamrakar on Flickr
Susan Feldman, cofounder of shopping site One Kings Lane, attributes the company’s success to not aiming to build the next big thing — she recommends “that if you have an idea and you want to do something, starting small is okay.”
Feldman’s advice mirrors the wisdom many companies follow when introducing their product or service to the market: begin by testing interest and enthusiasm with an MVP, or minimum viable product. This “barebones” product has just the necessary features to receive money and feedback from early adopters. Not only will this provide you with constructive criticism from your core audience, but a strong user reception validates moving forward with a product. Look to these five success stories to see how companies have used their MVPs to float their product to the marketplace.
Because product management encompasses a variety of elements, it can be found at multiple levels of development and production, under numerous titles. One survey found as many as 256 unique titles for the role among respondents. Whether you’re looking for work in the field, or wondering if you may already be operating in a related capacity, knowing what they are can be of benefit. Read on to learn a few.
Product management is a role that consists of diverse responsibilities—and therefore requires diverse strengths. Methodical organization, creative thinking, and vision are just a few assets necessary in order to be an effective PM.
This variety is what attracts so many to the field in the first place, and makes their work endlessly interesting and challenging. But it takes a certain type of personality to thrive in this capacity. If you’re considering a foray into this field, take a look at some of the qualities that project managers share to see if they resonate with you.
A minimum viable product, or MVP, is a bare-bones test of user interest in a product. The commonly accepted definition comes from Eric Reis, who popularized the term in his book The Lean Startup: “The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
We’ve all dealt with fear and anxiety surrounding our work. Whether you’ve just landed a new position or are simply dealing with expanded aspects of your role, you may be experiencing feelings of ineptitude. Fear not! There are lots of ways to deal when you’re feeling out of your league.
Is coding a job requirement for product managers? That’s a concrete question with a simple answer: No. It’s certainly possible for a product manager to capably bring a production from idea to market, guiding and managing engineers and designers along the process, and ensuring that the product is both loved and profitable, without writing a single line of code. When the question shifts to should product managers learn to code, the answer becomes a bit more subtle.
Earlier this month Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, made waves after announcing that Tesla patents are now open to everyone: “Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.”
Although patents were designed to encourage inventors by protecting their work, Musk explains that they are now actually curbing innovation: “Maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors.”
Jessica Skeete is an Education Product Manager at General Assembly in NYC. In this blog post, she discusses the release of Swift for iOS and how it will impact those looking to enter the app development world.
Earlier this month Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, announced a brand new programming language named Swift at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference. Paul Haddad, a popular iOS developer posted this tweet shortly after the announcement was made: Swift is great because it makes creating iOS applications much more accessible. Many people assume this will create an easy in for people wanting to develop apps, as they will no longer need to learn the complex programming language Objective-C, but it isn’t quite that simple. Although Swift is an excellent way to get your feet wet, it doesn’t mean that starting a career in app development will be as easy. Continue reading →
Product managers are in high demand, but the path to become a product manager is unclear. From choosing an undergraduate major to landing that first product management job (without prior product management experience), it can be a difficult field to break into. And so, we’re thrilled to announce General Assembly’s new Product Management Immersive Course, which graduates job-ready Associate Product Managers in 10 weeks. It launches in September of 2014 in New York City.
What Happens in the Product Management Immersive?
For 10 weeks students will spend a lot of time together: 9-5, Monday to Friday. The immersive is taught by expert practitioners and mixes lecture with hands-on project work. Topics covered include: user research, assessing product/market fit, financial modeling, competitive analysis, determining MVPs, data analysis, requirement gathering, wireframing, prototyping, pitching, developing user stories, and more. At the end of the course, students will have developed both a skill set to work as product managers, and a portfolio of real-world projects to share with future employers/the world. Continue reading →
Alex Cowan is an entrepreneur (5x), intrapreneur (1x), author, and instructor at General Assembly. He’s also the author of Starting a Tech Business. When he’s not teaching at GA, he’s often found advising companies and posting instructional materials for innovators and instructions on alexandercowan.com.
The response was great and thanks again to everyone who got in touch with the stories and perspectives. Based on that correspondence and some personal experience, I wrote up three quick sketches (before and after) about the concept’s practical application.