Product Management Leadership Essentials


(13 ratings)


4 Weeks


Cohort-based Course

We'll dig into negotiating C-level priorities, the language of executives, building successful teams, hiring, and merchandizing R&D wins.

Course overview

With a small group of your PM leadership peers, we'll dig into tough organizational, economic, and executive-level issues. We'll share real-world experiences. We'll discover that most product leaders are wrestling with a common set of internal selling challenges.

You'll gain/share insights and techniques around:

- Speaking the language of executives: money. Unlike with your technical teams, the C-suite can't hear anything that doesn't include a currency symbol. We'll review the economics of product vs. services companies, how to "sell" discovery work to execs, and we'll practice "count the digits" revenue-speak. We'll peek into the heads of sales and marketing execs.

- Understanding and communicating how Product Management team actually adds value. Execs often think PM should make development go faster, so we (as PM leaders) need to continuously highlight how relentless discovery, how savvy PMs reduce "product waste," and how clear product strategy gets more useful value out of our existing engineering/design/maker teams.

- Managing priorities and buy-in with sales/marketing/other execs who don't agree with each other. We'll unpack why each department inevitably translates corporate strategy into competing priorities. And why executives have "roadmap amnesia." Then we'll look at various tools (R&D pie charts, swim lanes) to drive grudging agreement for plans and roadmaps.

- Merchandizing product wins. Few outside development understand what product managers do, so we need to relentlessly identify and share successes in language our internal audiences understand. We can use demos, thank yous, and updates as ways to make heroes of our PMs.

- Constructing maker teams (product+engineering+design) that deliver better products build, boost morale, retain talent. We'll dissect the product manager/product owner problem.

- Role-playing some typical challenges supervising PM teams and our obligations as leaders to the folks who work for us. How might we handle single-account thinkers, unhappy senior PMs, self-important technologists?

This course will make you a better leader, executive, and mentor.

For current product leaders


Audience is *current* PM Directors, VPs and CPOs who are managing teams of product managers (and perhaps POs, designers/UX, analysts).


Focus is on PM leadership challenges, working better with other functional execs, understanding organizations, why GTM folks do what they do


This will be a safe space to talk about real issues, practical approaches, and the C-level challenges that many of us face

What participants have said

"Thanks for consistently enlightening us with unparalleled product wisdom and actionable insights!

This class had the clear exec language and exact sound bites I needed to help convince leadership of the potential financial impact of key efforts, and limited expected value of others."

"An excellent course for seasoned product leaders: discussing key topics and issues that we deal with every day."

"There was tremendous value in the peer discussions and group exercises - this cohort-based course delivered!"

"Packed with insights. This course has helped me frame where I need to grow as a product leader, plus how to help people under me grow."
"Insightful, pragmatic: we navigated real challenges of product leadership. No BS or silver bullet - just sharing decades of experience."
"Content is spot on, Rich is a great coach/teacher/facilitator, and the flow during class was great."

Meet your instructor

Rich Mironov

Rich Mironov

CEO & Smokejumper CPO

Rich is a 40-year veteran of Silicon Valley product management including 6 startups (2 IPOs), 15 interim VP/CPO roles, and more than 200 software consulting clients.

He coaches product leaders and parachutes into software companies as the interim VP Product Management/CPO. He founded Product Camp, has been blogging about software product management since 2002, and wrote "The Art of Product Management" (2008).

For the last 5 years, his talks and writings have been focused on C-Level product leadership issues, especially helping Product/Engineering/Design groups work better with Sales/Marketing/Implementation teams at B2B/enterprise software companies. His "Four Laws of Software Economics" has been forward to CEOs by product leaders thousands of times.

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Course syllabus


Organizing Product+Development+Design teams

  • Product waste, distance, and first principles: how do we improve our odds of building what the world wants to buy?
  • What do product managers actually do, and how do we add value (versus engineers and designers)?
  • What's a maker team? Who's on it? Which org models work, and which are deeply flawed?


Managing Priorities and Buy-In With Sales/Marketing/GTM Execs

  • "Money stories" and the language of executives. How do we talk about revenue instead of tech to "sell" good product strategies to the C-suite?
  • CEO role-playing exercise: why do they act the way they do?
  • Trade-offs, portfolio pies to show overall R&D investments, magic bullets, and the chocolate cake problem of adding "just one more thing"


Merchandizing Product Wins / Creating Internal Visibility

  • Why tenaciously sharing product wins is essential to credibility and career pathing
  • Understanding our different internal audiences
  • Boosting company morale and appreciation through virtuous THANK YOU cycles
  • A group exercise around conceptualizing entirely new products


Leadership and People Challenges

  • 4 core responsibilities of product leaders: building a team, driving strategy, growing collaboration, C-level alignment
  • "Poop umbrellas" and "poop funnels"
  • Delegation and the PM work we no longer do as leaders
  • Typical people management situations

Course schedule

2 hours per week plus a little prep
  • Mondays

    8:00am - 10:00am Pacific

    We'll have four 2-hour sessions on Oct 30, Nov 6th, Nov 13th and Nov 20th at 8am - 10am Pacific.

    That's 11am - 1pm Eastern and 16.00 - 18.00 (or 4pm - 6pm) GMT.

Learning is better with cohorts

Learning is better with cohorts

Active hands-on learning

We'll meet live via Zoom. A small cohort of your peers means lots of real-time discussion, laughs, honest sharing, and maybe a little PTSD.

Learn with a cohort of peers

We'll have frank and unfiltered conversations about real product leadership issue. You'll get great insights from your peers as well as from Rich.

Frequently Asked Questions

We'll record the sessions (ONLY for participants!), but you'll get the most out of attending live.
I work full-time, what is the expected time commitment?

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Product Management Leadership Essentials