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Product Management Mindsets



The role of Product Manager within industry is a driving force of innovation. Product Managers are trained as individual contributor engineers, yet evolve into multi-functional managers who lead the business, often through on-the-job training.  The objective of ME310X is to equip the trained engineer to become a Product Manager and successfully meet the multi-functional challenge of new product development within an organization.

What is Product Manager?

A Product Manager is described as a classically trained engineer who works at the nexus of technology development and business management. They design and deliver new product offerings by leading activity that interprets customer needs, shapes technology development and generates bottom-line business results. Product Managers often work in within multi-functional teams and must be sensitive to a variety of viewpoints on how to successfully interpret customer needs, design products to meet those needs, and successfully launch those products into the marketplace.

Course Overview

PM Team.jpg
ME310X uses the metaphor of the "Product Management Team" to organize the course work.  Sitting around this "table" are multi-functional representatives of the organization, who will bring unique strengths, viewpoints and political agendas to the new product development conversation.  The Product Manager leader must be able to understand these differences and bring together competing perspectives to successfully design, develop and launch new products.

ME310X sessions are dedicated to a single topic.  Each session lasts about 3 hours, and the sessions are scheduled on intermittent Thursdays immediately following SUDS in Room 200.  Refreshments are served as a way to keep energy levels high.

Topics will range from the broad ("What is Product Management?") to the specific ("The Financial Mindset").  Course materials will be sourced from MBA curriculum (mostly Harvard and Stanford) and feature case studies for discussion.  Each session will have a relevant outside speaker to add real world credibility to the content.

Some preparation work is required.  Each session will require background reading, about 30 minutes per session.  There are no written assignments.  Grading will be based on attendance, evidence of preparation for class, and classroom participation.

Every student who attends all 9 sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion for ME310X New Product Design.  

Fall Quarter

Session #1 (October 10, 2013) - What is Product Management?

What is Product Management?  How is it similar to or different than Entrpreneurship?

Read: "What Counts Factors" for Success: Understanding the Role of Product Manager

Read: "What Counts Factors" from Industry

Case Study: KLUTZ

Special Guest: DeWitt Durham, Vice President Production & Product Development

Session #2 (November 14, 2013) - Getting a Product Management Job

Picking a target employer, creating a winning resume, the interview process, mock interview training

Read: Harvard Business School - Notes on Interviewing

Read: Elevator Pitch Template

Order: Strengths Finder 2.0 (Copies in the ME310 Loft)

Complete: Strengths Finder instrument, bring results to class in January

Special Guest: Anna-Katrina Shedletsky and Tyler Bushnell  - Apple Product Design, ME310 Alums

Example ME310 STAR Resume

Presentation Visuals

Session #3 (November 21, 2013) - Leadership and New Product Development Team Dynamics

What is leadership?  What are the leadership implications for new product development teams?

Read: Why Teams Don't Work - HBR

Exercise: Mt. Everest Summit Team Challenge - On-Line Simulation (directions to follow)

Special Guest: Megan Delehanty - Two Time Summit Mt. Everest

Presentation Visuals

Winter Quarter

Session #4 (January 30, 2014) - The Finance Mindset

Research: Corporate Treasure Hunt

Read: Culinarian Cookware

Group Exercise: Promotional Pricing

Special Guest: Bob Togie, Finance Director, Ericsson

Presentation Visuals

Drazil Presentation

Session #5 (February 13, 2014) - The Sales Mindset

Watch: Clip of Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (WARNING: Contains Strong Language)

Read: Arck Systems

Special Guest: Joe Nagy, Director of Corporate Sales, SugarSync

Presentation Visuals

Session #6 (March 6, 2014) - The Human Resource Mindset

Read: HBR Employee Motivation (10 minutes)

Read: Starling Systems Case Study (10 minutes)

Special Guests: Kerry Olin and Rachel Evangelista, Microsoft Corporation

Presentation Visuals

Spring Quarter

Session #7 (April 17, 2014) - The Marketing Mindset

Read: Bryant Pharma (10 minutes)

Special Guest: Bracken Darrell, CEO, Logitech

Presentation Visuals

Session #8 (May 1, 2014) - Business Strategy Mindset

Read: Blue Ocean Strategy (10 mintues)

Read: Innovators Dilemma (5 minutes)

Special Guest: Nicola Corzine - Band of Angels

Presentation Visuals

Session #9 (May 15, 2014) - Getting Started and Beyond

Leadership Models

The 100 Day Action Plan

Presentation Visuals

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