A Review of the Online Stanford Product Management Course
I recently completed the new online Stanford course Product Management: Transforming Opportunities into Great Products. Before signing up I had a look for reviews, but since the course is fairly new I didn’t find many, so I thought I’d share my insights for others considering the course.
In summary: it’s fairly short, well organised, and covers the basics of product management using a lifecycle framework. The video material is good, but a little basic. The main value comes from the reading materials for each section. Those reading materials are just links to freely available content though (which I’ll provide below), so you have to question if the $675 is really worth it.
For those who are brand new to product management, you’ll find decent value here. For those with experience, I don’t think you’ll find anything new, but the reading material will offer some good reminders on best practices. So in essence, you’re paying $675 for a refresher on good content for each major stage of the product lifecycle.
The course is broken into nine modules, with a final test at the end. The test is 20 multiple choice questions, and if you’ve been paying attention in the course they are pretty straightforward. The modules are:
- Module 1: Course Introduction
- Module 2: Overview of the Product Lifecycle
- Module 3: Understanding the Problem Space
- Module 4: Designing the Solution
- Module 5: Launching
- Module 6: Distribution and Go-To-Market
- Module 7: Roadmaps
- Module 8: Build
- Module 9: Course Conclusion
It follows the flow of this lifecycle process:
Each module has pre-reading materials, which is the bulk of the effort involved. After reading those, you then watch the videos which reinforce the key points made in the reading — the videos are fairly short, around 5 minutes or so each.
You get two months of access to the course, which is plenty of time — if you’re a fast reader, you can easily complete a module in an evening, and be done with the entire course in a week or two. It’s a little disappointing that Stanford don’t give you lifetime access to the course materials though.
Here’s a full list of the pre-reading (Modules 1 and 9 don’t have any pre-readings). The articles I found most valuable/interesting are marked with a *.
- Be a Great Product Leader *
- Do Product Managers really need a background in CS?
- Product Visionary vs. Product Leader *
- Ode to a Non-Technical Product Manager
- Leading Cross-functional Teams: Always bring the donuts
- A Product Manager’s Job
- What Product Management Is Not
- Product Manager You Are… a janitor, essentially.
- The Bipolar Nature of Product Management
- Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager
- Start Talking! How To Do Customer Interviews That Reveal Priceless Insights
- Jurassic Park: How P&G Brought Febreze Back to Life
- How do Customer Development and Product Management fit together?
- The power of observation: How companies can have more ‘aha’ moments
- 12 Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews
- Five Whys
- How to Listen to Customers. How do you hone in on what users really need?
- How to find early adopters
- Seven lessons I learned from the failure of my first startup, Dinnr *
- Pretotype It: Make sure you are building the right it before you build it right
- Your Ultimate Guide To Successful Usability Testing
- The Psychology Principles Every UI/UX Designer Needs to Know *
- Prototyping: Learn Eight Common Methods and Best Practices
- The GV research sprint: a 4-day process for answering important startup questions
- SmartLife: Designing a Scalable Water and Hygiene Business
- An MVP is not a Cheaper Product, It’s about Smart Learning
- Define and Frame Your Design Challenge by Creating Your Point Of View and Ask “How Might We”
- How to Build a Minimum Loveable Product
- The Difference Between Good and Great Designers
- The Three Tools Netflix Used to Build Its World-Class Brand
- A Beginner’s Guide To A/B Testing: An Introduction
- How to Set Metrics for Product Launches *
- Update on Profile Photos
- Introducing Figma Organization: Our first enterprise-grade offering
- Uber + Figma Testimonial
- Open Your Eyes | Oculus Go
- See it in VR feat. Wiz Khalifa, Adam Levine, Jonah Hill, Leslie Jones, and Awkwafina | Oculus Go
- LinkedIn Growth Engine: The Never Ending Viral Loop *
- Andrew Chen on Startup Growth: Zero-to-One vs. One-to-N
- How WeChat Grew to Be the #1 App in the World *
- Calculating Lifetime Value Lifetime Value: a case study
- The Tenets of A/B Testing from Duolingo’s Master Growth Hacker *
- The Secret Formula for Go-to-Market *
- Dropbox grew 3900% with a simple referral program. Here’s how! *
- Unit of Value™: A Framework for Scaling
- 9 iconic growth hacks tech companies used to boost their user bases
- Leslie’s Compass: A Framework For Go-To-Market Strategy
- Launch Everywhere — How Uber Won 450+ Markets
- Where do product roadmaps come from? *
- This Product Prioritization System Nabbed Pandora 70 Million Monthly Users with Just 40 Engineers
- How to Turn a WAG (Wild-Ass-Guess) Into a SWAG (Scientific-Wild-Ass-Guess)
- How we build our Product Roadmap at Asana *
- A Gantt chart is not a product roadmap: Rethinking timelines *
- How To Build A Product Roadmap Everyone Understands *
- The CEOs of shaving startup Harry’s explain how they acquired a million customers in 2 years
- Apple’s Revenue Drop Was Inevitable
- Product managing an integrated hardware product at Square
- How Stripe Marketed to Developers So Effectively
- Master Plan, Part Deux *
- The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus From the Amazon Cloud Empire