New Course: Mastering Product Management
For years now loyal readers have been asking me to package up my learnings on product management into a cohesive course on the subject. This has always been a project I've been eager to take on, but I wanted to ensure that when I did, I contributed a novel perspective to the community. So in 2020, I took a survey of all the available product management courses out there. There were plenty of courses introducing product management to those new to the role. There was even an emerging set of courses focused on product leadership. But there was a distinct lack of focus on courses that were all about helping those already in the role to level up their capabilities, to truly move them from good to great PMs.
I found the same gap amongst the PMs I regularly mentored. Some mentioned that while they had worked as a PM at startups for several years, they felt they still lacked the skills and tools to reach the next level in their career growth. Or PMs at larger established tech firms might see great PMs at work within their company, but they struggled to reverse engineer just how to recreate their success for themselves.
I went on to discuss this skill gap with Brian Balfour, CEO of Reforge. He shared how Reforge was squarely focused on building programs specifically targeted at experienced practitioners and how they had been continually enhancing their cohort-based virtual programs with live case studies with industry experts, community-based learning opportunities, and a membership model that provided ongoing access to new programs from the industry’s best. I knew then that Reforge would be the best partner for bringing a course that solved this skill gap to life.
And that's how Mastering Product Management was born, a new 4 week, part-time, virtual course available globally, focused on helping existing PMs level up their product management capabilities by mastering critical product management tools. The course goes well beyond product management foundations to help you identify and execute high leverage work that generates disproportionate product returns. We'll revisit the product work you are already doing in your role and share unique tools that help you prioritize needle-moving work, develop your product intuition, empower your team, garner leadership buy-in, and focus your efforts on what truly matters.
Take product roadmaps for example. Every PM is responsible for putting one together every quarter. And yet there is incredible divergence in the quality of product outcomes that result from those roadmaps. This is due to the very process by which the roadmap is developed. Some teams do a team brainstorm and voting exercise to develop their roadmap. Others leverage a prioritization framework like RICE to prioritize their initiatives. However in both cases, PMs often find their roadmaps can be incremental in nature or lack a focus on strategic priorities. In this course we’ll introduce 4D roadmaps, a tool for developing highly strategic roadmaps that balance your long-term vision with customer feedback and short-term business priorities. And thereby introduce a repeatable process for ensuring you brainstorm and prioritize the most needle-moving work while building leadership buy-in during the process.
Or take OKRs, a common goal setting framework used by many product teams. While good PMs see the value of OKRs for focusing the team's effort and driving broad team alignment, great PMs utilize OKRs for an additional purpose: to actually hone their product intuition. They consider OKRs part of a critical learning loop: they start by putting a stake in the ground on what they think their prioritized objectives will accomplish and end with a post mortem that evaluates each of their objectives and key results, determines why those initiatives succeeded or failed, and leverage that learning to build their next roadmap or update their product strategy. By doing so, they explicitly build their product intuition through each and every quarter's OKR loop.
Beyond roadmaps and OKRs, the course will cover many other high-leverage tools spanning articulating a product strategy, developing a vision, gathering customer feedback, developing metric dashboards, writing product specs, and making product decisions.
It's been so rewarding spending the last year reflecting on my decade of product experience and those of highly respected product peers and trying to distill those learnings into actionable insights for PMs. And today, I couldn't be more excited to open enrollment for the inaugural cohort of Mastering Product Management.
Apply to Join Reforge
Reforge Membership costs $1,995/year and includes participation in 2 live programs, including the upcoming cohort of Mastering Product Management, as well as ongoing access to content from all 24 programs, weekly releases, deep-dive sessions, and a community of vetted peers to help you execute what you learn.
I’ve also shared more details on the program below for those interested...
Spring Programs Begin March 20
I've worked closely with Brian Balfour (CEO at Reforge) and the Reforge team for the past year to develop Mastering Product Management, and I can't wait for you to check it out. Onboarding for the Spring 22 cohort begins March 20 and the program runs 4 weeks long.
Mastering Product ManagementLevel up your product management abilities by mastering critical product management tools. Learn to identify and execute high leverage work that generates disproportionate product returns.
WEEK 1: CREATING A PRODUCT STRATEGY MAPYou will learn a step-by-step process for deepening your product strategy understanding and teach you how to create a clear scope-specific vision. We also introduce a stakeholder framework that helps you get the buy-in you need to drive impact.
WEEK 2: CREATING FEEDBACK SYSTEMSYou will learn a new way of approaching feedback inputs and a step-by-step process for creating a constant feedback system in which to improve products and features. You'll also learn how to create a product lever dashboard helping you identify your highest leverage metrics.
WEEK 3: BUILDING 4D ROADMAPS AND PRODUCT SPECSYou learn how to effectively create 4D roadmaps pulling together product strategy, vision, customer feedback, and lever dashboards. This program also walks through design principles and how to leverage them to build exceptional product specs, all of which help you bring your product vision to life in meaningful ways.
WEEK 4: KEY DECISION MAKING & DRIVING OUTCOMESYou will learn a new way to approach OKRs, with a new model (OOKRS) which focus more on outcomes and set your team up for success. We provide new ways of approaching decision-making as part of this process and ensure you have the support and buy-in required to drive impact.
Other ProgramsIn the upcoming cohort there will be 19 total programs across Product, Growth, Engineering, and Marketing all built and led by experienced executives. Here is the full slate:
- Product Programs: Product Management Foundations, Product Leadership, Product Strategy, User Insights for Product Decisions
- Engineering Programs: Technical Strategy, Scaling Product Delivery
- Cross-Functional Growth Programs: Growth Series, Advanced Growth Strategy, Retention + Engagement, Monetization + Pricing, Experimentation + Testing
- Marketing Programs: Marketing Strategy
Reforge Membership: What You Get
Reforge is the first-ever career development membership focused on high-growth tech practitioners, and is built entirely around the idea of driving impact for your business and for your career. The Reforge membership combines cohort-based programs, with a year-round experience to help you learn, grow and drive meaningful impact in your career.
Live Cohort-Based ProgramsReal problems require real depth. Membership includes participation in two cohort-based programs per year where you will go deep on how to solve a key problem in a 4-6 week, part-time, virtual format, guided by an executive.
Each week in a program, you can expect:
- Around 3 hrs of deep content covering actionable frameworks and systems.
- An expert-led case study with a featured guest to apply what you learned to a real-life situation.
- Connecting with vetted peers solving similar problems through discussions and feedback.
- Hands-on guidance by an Executive-In-Residence who has done the work before.
All Year Access to Tech's Best Content & Curated CommunityYour personal growth doesn't stop with the program, it just begins. As a Reforge member you can:
- Access all content across every Reforge program (over 16+ programs!)
- Complete step-by-step projects to help you implement and execute what you learn.
- Attend weekly workshops and deep-dive sessions by Reforge Partners.
- Receive weekly releases of projects, examples, and cases.
- Connect with vetted peers solving similar problems.
Apply to Join Reforge
Members Love ReforgeYou'll be joining other top operators from companies like Airbnb, Spotify, Stripe, Dropbox, Zoom, HubSpot, Reddit, and LinkedIn who consider Reforge one of the best professional investments they've made.
- "Even for experienced practitioners, Reforge crystalizes a practical and easily explained series of handy frameworks and immediately gives you a way to approach almost any product in any industry." - Scott Worthington, Dir of Product Marketing at Peloton
- "Reforge has the best content of any educational resource that I’ve encountered. It’s the best way to accelerate your career in tech.” - Bangaly Kaba, Former Head of Growth at Instagram, Instacart
- More reviews here...
Who Do I Learn From?In addition to the experienced executives that build and lead our programs, you'll hear examples from the industry's best. Past featured guests have included:
- Bangaly Kaba, ex-Head of Growth @ Instagram, Instacart
- Dun Wang, CPO at Calm
- Melissa Tan, ex-VP Product at Ro, ex-Head of Growth at Dropbox
- Darius Contractor, Head of Growth at Airtable
- Jiaona Zhang, VP Product at Webflow
- Kelly Mayes, Sr Dir Product at Roblox
- Adam Fishman, CPO at Imperfect Foods, ex-Patreon and Lyft
- Crystal Widjaja, ex-SVP Growth at GoJek
- Vaibhav Sahgal, VP Consumer Product at Reddit
- Justin Bauer, EVP Product at Amplitude
- Bela Stepanova, VP Product at Iterable
- Angel Steger, Dir Product Design at Facebook, ex-Dropbox and Pinterest
- David Bakey, ex-VP Consumer at Harry's
- Zindzi McCormick, Head of Activation at Slack
- Kieran Flanagan, VP Growth/Marketing at HubSpot
- And many more...
Want to accelerate your product career?
I've finally distilled my 15+ years of product experience into a course designed to help PMs master their craft. Join me for the next cohort of Mastering Product Management.
Are you building a new product?
Learn how to leverage the Deliberate Startup methodology, a modern approach to finding product/market fit. Join me for the next cohort of Finding Product/Market Fit.
Enjoyed this essay?
Get my monthly essays on product management & entrepreneurship delivered to your inbox.
Aug 04, 2021