5 questions to ask before choosing product management training

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Do you know who said that? When people say you can learn product management by reading books and watching videos…I am amused.. You can get entertained, maybe informed, but learning and absorbing is not assured. That is my experience with many of the online academies and course offerings. More so when it comes to #productmanagement or #productleadership training.

These are the 5 questions you must ask before you consider getting yourself or your team any skill building sessions or training as a #productmanager.

1. Is the training practitioner led?
If you are being trained by a professional trainer, then you might have a fun session, but it will not be laced with real world examples. If you are being trained by an academic, you might get lot of theory but limited or no real world experience. Sure, case studies are interesting, but they are only after the fact. If you are being trained by a practitioner then not only will you get real world examples, but it will be based on “been there, done that”.

2. Are you going beyond frameworks?
Lot of certifications and such courses emphasize acronym filled frameworks. RICE, JTBD, BMC, MVP and more when it comes to success metrics – AARGH, NPS… Sure, frameworks are useful and your training must include some of these, but contextualizing and helping you understand what to use when and whether to you use one is far more important.

3. Are you applying what you learn to your own product and business?
This is perhaps one of the toughest to answer and achieve. Applying concepts to other people’s products can be fun, but doesn’t always help you achieve what you want – building a better product and growing your business. Ideally your training has this a core part of the learning and your are doing this work as part of the process.

4. Can you get guidance or answers to your real world problems?
Most people who are actually building products, find this the most valuable. Real world is far more complex and does not fit neatly into any theoretical approach or framework. Practical solutions to problems and how to approach dysfunction, delays, stonewalling, inter-team communication

5. Are you getting a global perspective?
Most people today are building products that target more than one geography or country. Even if you are focused on one country, you can get a lot of ideas from how problems are being solve in other markets. If the approach is focused only one on country or only on developing or developed markets then you are not learning the diversity of approaches, markets and customers.

Above quote is from Ben Franklin: an American polymath, a leading writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher.