In the past, people often fell into product management from roles in engineering, design, or marketing. Today, it’s a different story—people are starting their careers with product management in mind.
In fact, Senior Product Manager ranked fifth on Indeed’s list of the top roles for job seekers in 2023. In another recent study, researchers analyzed 228 million job ads and found that one in eight of all job postings listed product management as a required skill.
What started as an engineering-adjacent role rooted in shipping features has evolved into a strategic, cross-functional role that impacts a business’ future direction. This also means the characteristics and skills that make for great product managers are evolving, too.
With this in mind, Pendo and Mind the Product wanted to focus our next certification course on the product manager role and help practitioners get to the next level—or get started—in their career.
Product Management Basics teaches you the fundamentals of product management and how to build products that drive business outcomes. It does this through the lens of the Product Management Life Cycle, which is a cyclical framework for conceptualizing, building, launching, and iterating on software products. The course includes plenty of tactical best practices and real-world examples, and once you take the course and pass the exam, you’ll earn a “Product Management Basics Certified” digital badge.
Ready to get started with Product Management Basics? Sign up here—the course is usually $149, but we’re offering it for free for everyone.
Characteristics of great product managers
The first part of the course serves as an introduction to product management. You’ll learn about the product manager (PM) role, the makeup of a product organization, who PMs partner with, common challenges (and how to overcome them), and more.
It’ll also become clear that product managers aren’t just responsible for shipping features and checking items off the product roadmap. Product managers play a strategic role in driving the business forward—which requires certain skills to ensure success.
We’ve identified five characteristics that separate the great product managers from the rest. The best product managers:
- Possess business acumen, not just technical acumen
- Are good leaders and communicators
- Root decisions in data over gut feel
- Are outcomes-driven
- And balance innovation with upkeep
The power of the Product Management Life Cycle
Throughout the rest of the course, you’ll dig into each phase of the Product Management Life Cycle and learn strategies and best practices you can apply in your current or future product manager role.
The Product Management Life Cycle isn’t something that Pendo or Mind the Product invented. Product teams have been operating with versions of this life cycle for years, and it continues to evolve with the discipline as a whole. Our version is rooted in data and empowering product managers to focus on business outcomes, not just shipping features.
Here’s what this looks like for the first two phases of the Product Management Life Cycle:
- In the past, during the Discover phase, a product manager would likely talk to a handful of customers to determine the most pressing problems. Now, product managers leverage meaningful quantitative and qualitative data to gain insight into customer pain and challenges.
- In the Validate phase, product managers have historically gotten very little validation on their ideas, and instead relied on gut feel or leadership feedback to decide what to build. Now, product managers can easily pressure test ideas with customers, using in-app prompts and surveys to get feedback on potential features.
How to get started
No matter where you are in your career, this course will help you uplevel your skills as a product professional. Whether you just started your very first job in product, want to make a career shift into product management, or already have years of product manager experience, there’s always more to learn and new ways to improve your craft.
Here’s what you can expect from the certification course:
- 8 modules on the Product Management Life Cycle
- 2.5 hours of engaging, instructor-led videos
- Optional videos that show how to apply course concepts in Pendo
- Curriculum developed by product managers, for product managers
- An optional exam to check your knowledge and earn a certification badge
Ready to get certified? Sign up for Product Management Basics here to get started. The course is usually $149, but we’re offering it for free for everyone.