The Benefits Of External Training For Product Management Teams
When leading or overseeing a team of product managers or those with product management responsibility in your company, you don’t need to rely on recruitment as the only path to closing the skill gap.
Like any technical discipline, product management can be trained for and whilst there is a lack of standardisation in certifications for this space - training can deliver a multitude of benefits to your organisation both in the short term and the long term.
Product management is a critical role performed in a digital business. A product manager is someone who works cross functionally, like a general manager with a broad area of responsibility.They must dissect data and insights to identify and prioritise the feature enhancements required to your business to drive the outcomes you need in line with your strategy.
They must influence people to drive outcomes, as they don’t have the legitimate power that comes from being directly above those they need to work with in the hierarchy.
There are a wealth of methodologies and techniques that a good product manager can benefit from applying in their work to deliver results. External training can help build these capabilities in the team whilst also creating a common understanding and framework to communicate and work together.
External training can be a short cut to success
So you want to know that there is solid theory that supports your team’s roadmap and you are considering external training to bring up the team’s skills and provide that comfort.
By completing external training as a group, product management teams can discover industry best practices and unlock expert knowledge in the art of product management itself.
Common examples can include popular online courses like:
Government sources can also be a rich vein of impartial content and courses to provide these skills for your team.
Experts and agencies are also another common method of external training to bring your team together and share a comment framework for product management that is based on experience and modern techniques.
These methods can be learned through the attendance of events and workshops that the industry might hold in your area, which is also a great way of plugging your team into the local networks of product managers who can share their experience so that you can learn from their mistakes, rather than your own.
Another reason that external training can be great for your team is that it demonstrates an investment in them as people, beyond your business needs, and can boost creativity and energy to bring passion to their day-to-day working.
Facilitation and a common framework creates alignment
We’ve written about communication before and how important it is for product management. A common language and framework to discuss your product is a true key to success.
External training will typically focus on the importance of the customer, and being customer centric. A good product manager knows this but reinforcement is always helpful.
Simply being customer-centric is insufficient if you don’t have the tools to sort the wheat from the chaff and truly identify the facts of what your customers need from you. External training can help provide you and your team with the tools to do just this.
When trying to discern the reality of a situation it can be difficult to identify a systemic issue from a one off client need when you have an upset client or a concerned account manager to talk to. External training can provide you with a process to follow or a proven technique of diving into these issues and clarifying the root cause of the problem which can be mitigated through a product enhancement.
These techniques bolster a product managers communication skills, it helps them collaborate better with their peers, seniors, the teams that work for them, and external stakeholders like customers, industry representatives, vendors, and regulators.
The broad requirements of a product manager’s role in the organisation make these skills critical to their (and your) success so sourcing external training to improve upon these is an investment in the future for your mutual success and happiness.
Keeping up with changes in best practice
You may have the best of the best in your team when it comes to product management, but if they are cut off from the outside world and how the methodologies are evolving, then they will not remain the best for long.
Things definitely change with pace in product management and focusing on your product and working purely with internal stakeholders and relevant customers in the same space can mean they are cut off from the changing landscape.
External training can be a great way to keep your product managers plugged into the industry for this specific purpose.
The professional benefits involve exposure to the latest trends and techniques that can be applied for your business outcomes and on your product. All with a new level of excitement for them as they are once again learning about a topic that (at least should be) a passion for them.
These connections to product management as an industry can expose them to the changing trends, the next big thing in tech (like how to best tap into AI for product management), and how to deal with the ever changing landscape of regulation (think the impact of EU regulation on social media, marketing, and technology).
This also breeds confidence whilst improving a product managers ability to be agile, flexible and resilient in the face of increased demands and an ever changing market.
So what are you waiting for, support your team’s growth and your own with external training
Hopefully we’ve helped you get your head around the various types and formats of external training that you can tap into for your business.
A product manager who is tapped into external training is one that is better for it. They will have improved mental clarity and strength, increased confidence, new skills, and a better network to continue their learning which can all be applied to your product’s success.
If you need help figuring out what sort of external training might be best for you and your team, feel free to reach out - we would love to help you with your digital success.