Product management training is essential in all companies as it teaches foundation, skills and knowledge that is essential for an effective product manager. A product manager role is to discover a product that is valuable, usable and profitable. Product management creates a bridge between the business technology and the user experience. For a product to be successful in the market it must add value to the lives of consumers thus the manager needs a group of people that are passionate about making a product that satisfies the customer.
3 Product Management Training Exercises to Try
Exercises are better training tools because they are a fun way of learning and they help people remember lessons. Product management training exercises should focus on brainstorming, team building, motivation exercise, problem solving exercise and cooperation exercise, creativity exercises among others. The above are all essential in ensuring you produce a product that is important to the market and also be able to market it properly. Some of those exercises include;
1. Brainstorming exercise: rotating roles
Trainees take on different roles and focus on coming up with the best ideas for a certain project. Since you are speaking from another person’s point of view you are more courageous and you look at thing from a completely different point of view.
To enable you expand the scope of thinking to be able to focus on issues from a broader perspective. If you can be able to see the beginning to the end of a product line you will be at a better position to execute your ideas.
- Flip charts for each role you are playing
- A wall or table where you can place the flip charts
- Let the group pick a product that they think would be valuable to the consumers.
- Set the roles as the facilitator you can pick the roles or let the group come up with the various roles.
- Make the roles as real as possible by ensuring all roles needed to make a product from its inception to its being rolled out and customer feedback are created .Create even the roles that are outside the scope of product management like revenue allocation, tax collection, shipping agents among others.
- Spread the participant to each flip chart with their respective roles and let them come up with the relevant ideas about the product focusing only on the perspective relevant to their roles. All the ideas should be listed on the flip chart.
- Allow 5 minutes on each role then let them move to the next role.
- After they all complete brainstorming on each role let each one of them go around all flip charts and read what the other has listed down.
- Allow a free discussion on all the ideas looking for the best one and the not so good one, what could be improved and what is more effective let them challenge each others’ ideas merit positively.
- Finally have an all inclusive discussion and let the group discuss the value of brainstorming. Was it insightful, was it effective, did it promote free discussion, the quality of generated ideas and finally how it would be useful in their work places.
2. Creativity exercise: Design a game
It enables participants to tap on their creative juices it encourages spontaneity and out of the box thinking. You are required to design a game in a given timeline and the process is later evaluated.
Design a game by only using the supplied materials and make it as entertaining as you can in a few minutes.
Scissors, Several dice, Playing cards, Playing money, paper cards and large sheets, poker token, colored pens, strings and anything else you think can help you in designing the game i.e. magazines, building bricks, tokens and plastics.
- Divide the participants into even groups and explain that the purpose of this game is to design an entertaining game.
- Place all the materials on a table accessible by all groups and let them pick the ones needed to design the game they come up with.
- The groups has 30 minutes to come up with the game that can be played by all the members of the group and another 30 minutes to design the game.
- After the allocated time has passed let each group explain their games to each other.
- Let group members swap positions with each other and let everyone play the games designed by each other, at all time there should be a member of the designing team to explain the game to the others.
- After each participant has played all the games let them vote on the quality of the game they played and collectively nominate the game that they consider the best.
- The real objective of this is to encourage spontaneous thinking, communication skills, group interaction, leadership opportunities, decision making, working in a pressure environment just like the product managers real life working environment.
- Follow up with all inclusive discussion on what was the experience, how discussing ideas helped the progress of coming up with a new design, how did you approach the problem, what tools you used to increase your creativity, how well you worked as a team, how could you have made it better, the reason for success of the winning team.
3. Team building exercise
An adventurous and entertaining exercise aimed at improving team work, leadership skills, communication skills, motivating, problem solving and cooperation. You need an open area or a computer generated game that allows you to actually play.
To land a golf ball as close as possible to the target while not being able to see the target by relying on the other teams’ direction.
A flag pole, rope, a shovel, pair of binoculars, golf balls, a cord, A4 colour papers, Scissors, a communication device that can only communicate between the two groups the spotter team and golfer team bar all other communication so that the teams rely on each other and concentrate, a ladder and an open area so that you can have a hill between the target location and the place the golf is hit.
- Divide the product management training participants into two groups and assign one as a golfer and the other as a spotter team.
- The objective of the golfer is to hit the ball and let it land on a target area they cannot see because it is blocked by a hill and keep hitting it until they are close to the target or hit the target.
- The objective of the spotter teams is to guide the golfer on where to direct the ball so that they are closer to the target.
- The two teams cannot communicate with each other face to face they can only do so by using the devices of communication they have.
- Have a comprehensive discussion on whether you succeeded in this task, if yes what led to success if not what led to the failure, what could be done differently .The success of team work depends on good communication and an effective leadership.
The basics of being a good product manager depends on how good you can optimize a product to achieve the business goals and maximize on return on investments, understand the technology used in your line of business and being passionate about user experience. Product management training help a manager be able to encompass all these.