If someone had told me at the beginning of the ProdBOK Guide journey that it would take three years to develop the first edition of The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge (ProdBOK) I’m not sure how I would have reacted.
On one hand, it’s a tremendous privilege to collaborate with a wide swath of industry thought leaders inside and outside of the product management community (more on that in a moment). On the other hand, three years is a long time, so you really have to be committed to trying to advance the product management profession.
In a nutshell, today the product management community is a robust, thriving community of very intelligent and talented people that are rarely ever content with the status quo and who strive to change their industry’s and their organization’s for the better. We face significant business challenges every day and develop thick skin and laser-like focus – necessary traits for success.
We do this in the face of those who don’t clearly understand our profession (with good reason!), ever-changing market dynamics, and a whirlwind of internal and external challenges that conspire to upend our best laid plans. Successful product managers have to be smart, flexible, and savvy leaders.
We also are often successful in spite of the fact, that unlike other professions, there is little academic training for product managers, we are forced to learn as we go, and there is no industry consensus on what product management is and does.
So for the last three years approximately sixty of the industry’s leading professionals banded together and contributed to the development of the ProdBOK Guide. The goal? To distill a collaborative cornerstone that can be built upon to ensure that the product management profession better supports the needs of the product community at large.
The roster of contributors is one most folks reading this post will likely recognize. While there is not enough space to name everyone, I would like to list a few of the many contributors so you can get a sense of how deep and wide industry collaboration reached.
The ProdBOK Guide was sponsored by AIPMM, edited by MIT professor Steven Eppinger and myself, and developed with the support of many of the leading voices in the product management community. We also benefited significantly from the contributions of our counterparts in the adjoining professions and academia (e.g. Cambridge University, DePaul University and the University of Calgary).
The various types of contributors can be grouped into the following categories: authors, academics, analysts, associations, bloggers, consultants, industry thought leaders, and practitioners.
You’ll likely recognize many of these contributors. Here’s a sample; John Armstrong (former SVPMA board member), Nick Coster (Brainmates), Greg Cohen (Agile Excellence/280 Group), Linda Gorchels (Author/Faculty UW-Madison), Steve Johnson (Under 10 Consulting), Jeff Lash (How To Be A Good Product Manager), Linda Merrick (Pivotal Product Management), Rich Mironov (Mironov Consulting), Roman Pichler (Pichler Consulting), Steven Starke (Actuation Consulting), Adrienne Tan (Brainmates), Don Vendetti (Product-Arts), and many more.
The project also enjoyed wide support from the adjoining business analyst, project and program management, and user experience professions as well. Contributors include: Kevin Brennan (IIBA), Jack Duggal, Stacy Goff (IPMA), David Heidt, Rich Gunther(UXPA), Ken Hanley, Gary Heerkens, Lee Lambert, Richard Larson, Johanna Rothman, and Frank Saladis.
So a day after pushing the publication button, as I sit here and reflect upon the journey of the last three years, I want to express my sincere appreciation to ALL of the Contributors to this effort. As Steve Johnson wrote to me a couple days ago – publication is not the end of the journey, but a new beginning.
So as we begin the next leg of the journey, I want to thank each and every contributor to this effort for their commitment and passion to improving our profession. It has been an honor to work with each and every one of you!
Editors Note: The ProdBOK Guide is now entering distribution and will be available within the next three weeks, if not sooner. Check Amazon’s website as it typically shows up most quickly in their distribution channel.