Let me tell you about the time I went to Product School… I signed up for the weekend cohort that started July 9, 2016 on the San Francisco campus.
I doubted between the weekday cohort and the weekend cohort for a while, but finally decided on the weekend cohort for 2 reasons:
1. the better mix of backgrounds of co-students
2. the resume of the instructor (Josh Anon)
Now, I am transitioning from a Project Management background to a Product Manager role and was looking for a structured and hands-on way of learning a framework for Product Management. Because I was already doing PM work in my current role, but realized I was not reaching my full potential and that there had to be a better way. And I didn’t get disappointed.
Our instructor (Josh Anon) is absolute GOLD when it comes to teaching Product Management. He has a long track record with big name companies, and applies everything he’s learned along the way (especially at Pixar), which shines through in his teaching methods.
Josh has completely overhauled/updated the curriculum and used our cohort to beta-test it. Now the curriculum has a better structure and is more cohesive, and as a result it sticks better. For homework you’ll read chapters of his soon to be published book “Product Book: How To Be An Awesome Product Manager” as a preparation for class. The lecture materials are very cohesive and consistent with the learnings from the book. I really enjoyed reading the book (it’s an easy read), and will read it again soon.
In every class there will be exercises where you apply what you’ve learned in a group assignment, which really helps to make it ‘stick’. AND, this is a great way to get to know your classmates better too. (I would recommend the weekend cohort from a networking perspective too, since you get to spend a 1 hour lunch with your classmates every Saturday).
And you’ll work on a Final Project during the first 6 weeks, wherein you go through the entire life-cycle of Product Management, right from distinguishing your customers/personas to creating the best product/market fit, determining the MVP and your launch plan.
Now, I know, a lot of people are saying you can probably learn most of this by searching the internet and reading everything available. And I am sure you can… But do you really want to spend that much time scavenging the internet and just reading (and taking for truth) whatever you can find? And how much do you think will actually stick if you read it without any structure? And are you really going to apply all that knowledge to a real product to really experience the whole process?
I really wanted to learn in an efficient and structured way and believe Product School (and their instructor Josh Anon) has delivered on that. Besides that, the instructor is highly available for any questions or help you need throughout the course and even afterwards. And the instructors will share personal experiences when using examples or to elaborate on any questions the class asks them, which helps you learn too. And I really connected with some of my classmates and we’ll try to meet up on a regular basis for drinks or dinner and exchange experiences and learnings.
So, for me it was money well spent and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to transition into Product Management or wants to learn a structured framework. I do agree that it would be even more awesome if they would go more in-depth into certain topics (i.e. User Research), but that is not feasible within this time-frame and I believe that at most companies this work (i.e. User Research) will be done by experts anyway, so you can learn that from them in your next PM role.