Pragmatic Marketing Course

I attended the Pragmatic Marketing‘s Practical Product Management and Requirements That Work seminars as part of my continuing skills development at PGP. As my work with PGP has been my first product management gig it’s been tough to know if I’m really focusing on the right things, especially in the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants world of startups. If nothing else, the seminars both served to re-focus my thinking, and provide some assurance that, yes Virginia, being a PM is always a work-in-progress, no matter where you’re working.

The course pointed to a number of resources that I thought I would share, including a large number of business strategy textbooks for specific topics:

In addition to pointing to two different articles (On Reqs and Specs, Writing the Marketing Requirements Document) on the Pragmatic Marketing web site, the instructor also pointed to Joel’s excellent article on Painless Functional Specifications.

I’ll be wading through some of this material over the coming weeks. Overall, I was pleased with the course – highly recommended.

4 thoughts on “Pragmatic Marketing Course

  1. (Rant mode)

    As someone who has taken the arse-backward approach to starting companies — i.e. without any skills or training — I humbly offer that having knowledge from Pragmatic Marketing’s courses is a VERY desirable thing in a fly by your pants startup. In fact, I theorize that by having such knowledge you could avert the fly by the seat part quite a bit, which can be a painful experience.

    Running a startup without good product management is like loading a gun without the ability to aim well. Except the gun is pointed at your own head. Good product management lets you know if the product you are building and trying to sell is going to go anywhere. Without product management, all you have is cool stuff with no idea whether you are wasting your time and life’s savings.

    A friend of mine works for a very visionary startup that started with a unique visualization technology. On day one they had a way cool demo but almost no idea where the technology could be applied profitably — well, to the contrary it was so neat and cool they thought it could be used anywhere at all (military, health, education, you name it). The CEO was very smart. He hired a team of product managers with a huge travel budget and got them to do a year of on the ground, real world research. Yes, a YEAR.

    Now they are profitable selling to the military. They used the cool demo to raise about $10M, then spent the money doing product management. The government paid for all the R&D. That’s a smart company. No one has sold out yet, but it’s a long term kind of business. They’ll do well with that kind of foundation.

  2. Wow Ken that’s quite a testimonial for good product management. I feel your pain of just jumping into the entrepreneurial game;-) It’s fun but you have no idea how little you actually know when you start.

    Question for both of you guys. Other than the official product managers within a company who else would you recommend within a start up should get PM training?

    Brendon would love to chat with you more about this!

  3. Pingback: Product Management Top Ten at

  4. Well, for one thing, I think it’s advisable for Engineering to be exposed to some element of what’s involved in product management. That’s not to say that they need to undergo all the training – but they do need to understand the role, its responsibilities, and how it relates to the Engineering team. After all, when product management is done well, it means less work and churn for the Engineering team!

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