Home‎ > ‎2016-17-sessions‎ > ‎

01. course-introduction

Course Introduction


Wednesday, August 31, 2016 [SPECIAL DATE THIS ONE TIME ONLY!]

Hawes 203

We'll do three things. First, we'll use an example to consider the attributes of great and flawed software products. Next, we will discuss the course's learning objectives, structure, and requirements. Finally, students will briefly describe their projects, and Prof. Austin will describe HBS IT project options, in order to facilitate team assembly and to help everyone get acquainted.

Required Reading

  1. The Product Manager, HBS 812-105 (available for download under the Learning Hub's entry for today's session and in hard copy via Spangler for students registered in PM 101; through the Baker Library Case Request Form for other current HBS students; others may request a copy).

  2. A Product Manager's Job - Josh Elman

  3. Product Manager, You Are… A Janitor, Essentially - Mat Balez

  4. Visit the Product Management reading list on Prof. Eisenmann's blog. Scan the contents so you know what's available when you might be looking for resources in the future. Note that there are other reading lists on the right of the page that might be useful to you, e.g., on product design, lean startup practices, launch marketing, etc.

Recommended Reading

  1. Terrific books that provide an overview of the product manager role:

  2. Good posts on the PM role:


  1. For each team working on a student startup, one team member should be prepared to deliver a 90 second pitch (no slides necessary) describing: a) your target customer; b) the unmet customer needs you will address; c) the differentiated solutions you are exploring to meet those needs; and d) the status of your venture (how long you've been working on it, what work you've completed, etc.).

  2. Develop a list of the attributes of excellent software products. Then, apply that list to one of the following products:

    1. Pokémon GO - Android or iOS

    2. DuoLingo - Web

    3. Venmo - Web, Android or iOS

Email two suggestions for improving one of these apps to Prof. Austin (jbaustin@hbs.edu) by 5 pm on Tuesday, August 30. Optional: try sketching your improvement ideas. Forward photos of any sketches -- however rough -- by email to Prof. Austin. Note: Students working in teams should complete this assignment individually, not as a team. PM101 will regularly require the submission of small assignments like this in advance of our class sessions. These submissions will count toward your course grade.

Session Materials