Product Management, Week 13

Lecture Week 13 Product Management, DMI Capstone, April 15, 2019

Around 2016, some people who work in digital industries started thinking and writing a lot more about how digital items were “products” – even if they are services. When you order a new synch cable from Amazon for your phone, that’s clearly a product – but you can also think of Spotify as a product, even though it’s a streaming service; the newest song from Cardi B is a product, even though it’s delivered through a service; r/news on Reddit, political analysis from the FiveThirtyEight blog, a data interactive on Texas universities’ athletics programs and news about Brexit in the New York Times – it’s all “product.”

So one of the biggest areas of growth in hiring in digital media is project managers.

 “Product Management” is a catch-all term for everything from launching a new travel rating app to shepherding a multimedia Texas Tribune package to completion. And the best project managers are digitally “multilingual” – they have excellent written and oral communication skills; are at least familiar with HTML, CSS and Javascript; they know content management systems, like WordPress and Bootstrap; hosting channels, like BlueHost and Web; can take creative photos, produce compelling videos, and know how to target, measure and build a relationship with an audience through social media. There are LOTS of current job postings for digital project managers and even blogs oriented around the idea.

You all already have the skills for these jobs – what we’ll concentrate on this week is just clarifying the concept of Project Management, including how it developed and has evolved.

Dr. Royal wrote an extensive book chapter AND co-taught a massive open online course (a MOOC) on Digital Project Management. Before Monday’s class, I want you to read her chapter:

And I’d like for you to look at three of her videos from the Product Management MOOC, which she co-taught with Aron Pilhofer (formerly of the NY Times and Guardian, now at Temple University in Philadelphia) and Becca Aronson (the first-ever product manager at the Texas Tribune).

Product Management MOOC Part 1, Introduction to Product Management

Product Management MOOC Part 2, Details About Product Management

Finally, Dr. Royal published a study in 2017 about her research into project management: she talked with a bunch of people working in digital media about this emerging idea and has some great quotes.

Your assignment is to read and watch a bunch of this and then go to our Slack #general channel and just list a favorite digital “product” of yours and why you like it. Remember, just about anything you use can be a product. Here’s an example: My car came with an app, which lets me find my car, tells me if there’s a recall or it needs maintenance, lets me call for roadside assistance and schedule dealer maintenance, and has a social media section for owners of the same car. I wouldn’t have had any need for it but it’s actually pretty cool now that I’m used to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *