Why Technical Products Management?
This course is about Tech Product Manager – a rapidly growing role in today’s IT industry.
Many innovative companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Booking, Uber, etc) build a big portion of their value on the non-intuitive (for a classical product perspective) tech insights and need a mix of product and technical skills to drive it from a vague idea to the end customer facing solution. Think Google Search: minimum UI, but maximum algorithmical and infrastructural magic which almost fully determines a value and the overall experience. As you probably guessed, search algorithms and large-scale infrastructure are two examples of Tech PM sweet spots.
But it is a mistake to think that unless you work for one of IT-giants, there is no application of Tech PM skills. Look around for a second âmostly everything you encounter is an online-service of some size: you book a flight and hotel online, order food, learn guitar, sometimes even do guided sport and renew a passport with your government â everything is online. All of these products do not hang in the air â they are powered by ecosystems of actual software (e.g. Java) services and there is a product leader with a team driving them in the right (or wrong) direction. The moment mostly everything in the product becomes a service, the leader naturally gets involved in a Tech PM area.
Ok, landscape is changing, but does the required PM skill set changes together with it? I think, that partially â yes. To illustrate it, we might roughly estimate, that for any successful Product Manager (or an entrepreneur) in any modern IT-project (including startups) there are critical, important and nice-to-have set of skills:
Product Management base (critical, ~50% of success) to know how to deal with customer requirements, in other words to have a solid PM base (i do not teach it here – there are already hundreds of courses on the topic)
Technical Product Addition (important, ~30% of success) to easily combine external and internal systems together, keep in mind non-functional requirements (architecture, security, infrastructure, reliability, etc) and at the end turn a product idea into a real practical IT service. The course is exactly about this part.
Domain knowledge (nice to have, ~20% of success) a specific domain knowledge on top (e.g. about payments, or about ML, or a content processing, etc) to ask the right questions and go deeper if your product needs it. It is nice to have because you can always learn if your product and tech product base is strong enough.
Why i can talk about Tech Product Management?
I have a solid tech background (a PhD in Computer Science with 7 years of software development) and then 5 years of the Tech Product management at Booking. com in different product and tech departments. In other words, i have a lot to share with you regarding Tech PMing.
Structure of the course
In the Part 1 I explain in details why Tech PM role is gaining popularity with the examples of Google, Uber, AWS, Stripe, etc. and set the course goals.
In the Part 2 I quickly cover specifics of the Tech PM role (it is expected that you already know PM basis from another course) and explain the main difference between a Technical Product Manager, a classical Product Manager, an Engineer, a Project Manager and a Technical Program Manager (completely different roles!). It will help you to frame the right context and avoid a confusion about who does what.
The core practical Part 3 of the course consists of the 4 real tech product use cases (different industries and company setups), which i solve for you applying Tech PM thinking process. There are also quizzes after each case and the final assignment to solidify your knowledge. Students who understood and completed all the assignments of this part would be able to apply TPM approach to their projects.
In the Part 4 I provide learning directions of how to grow your Tech PM skills. I first cover main Tech Product building blocks (APIs, infrastructure, architecture, monitoring, reliability, security) and then give you links to a lot of external materials to boost your technicality and PM skills.
Enjoy and join a growing community of Tech Product Managers passionate about building rockstar products on yet undiscovered tech insights!