Linda Merrick on Product Management and ProdBOK
I’m pleased to have as my guest today Linda Merrick, partner at Pivotal Product Management. Welcome Linda!
Linda, let’s start by focusing on the changes to the product management field that have taken place over your career. As you look over your product management career – and the continuing evolution of product management – is there anything that stands out?
(Linda Merrick) Two things stand out for me. First, while the definition of product management isn’t standardized, the term is pretty well known and we no longer have to start from scratch when describing what we do. I think that’s good progress over the last 25 years!
Countering that, however, is the lack of education in product management process and practices. People are still re-inventing the wheel a lot.
How do you think the ProdBOK Guide will help address of these challenges?
(Linda Merrick) The ProdBOK Guide is a major step forward in standardizing what product management is, and the key practices it entails. It will certainly help product managers and product marketers adopt practices that will lead them to greater professional success. But perhaps as important or more so, businesses will use ProdBOK as a foundation for improving product success rates and developing the people that will make that happen.
Why did you choose to contribute to the ProdBOK effort?
(Linda Merrick) This is where I’ve always wanted to be – at the heart of solving problems for people. I’ve been a product manager since 1985, and teaching product management since 1999. I want to contribute my hard-won experience to others who want to join in the fun, and the ProdBOK Guide enables me to reach a wider audience.
How do you think the development of a product management and marketing body of knowledge will impact academic acceptance of product management as a profession?
(Linda Merrick) Here’s the thing. What we call product management is the core of every company in the world: it’s managing the process of turning ideas into value for some group of consumers and for the company itself. My product management students who already have MBA’s have confirmed that they gained a lot from their MBA programs, but it all started to come together for them in my classes on product management. To be a professional, we need standards to measure against. With ProdBOK’s process as a basis for a standardized curriculum, there is now no reason why every MBA and BA program shouldn’t require a Product Management class, and offer a specialization in that area for those who want to become professional product managers.
Any final thoughts?
(Linda Merrick) Product management is by turns frustrating and exhausting, but also exhilarating, fun, and fulfilling. I think it’s the best career in the world, and it’s wonderful to see the ProdBOK Guide providing a great foundation for others to build their own careers.
Greg Geracie is a recognized thought leader in the field of product management and the President of Actuation Consulting, a global provider of product management consulting, training, and advisory services to some of the world’s most well-known organizations. Greg is also the author of the global best seller Take Charge Product Management. He is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on high-tech and digital product management.
ProdBOK is a registered trademark of AIPMM.