Digital Product Management Lab

Digital Product Management Lab (PM-Lab) provides students with a hands-on introduction to product management with an emphasis on its role within technology-driven enterprises.

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Digital Product Management Lab

Welcome

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15.786 Digital Product Management Lab

Digital Product Management Lab (PM-Lab) is an Action Learning lab that provides students with a hands-on introduction to product management with an emphasis on its role within technology-driven enterprises. Using common digital tools, such as storyboarding, wireframe mock-ups, and A/B testing, students will help real companies with their business challenges. This course is intended for students seeking a role in a product management team, or to contribute to product management in a new enterprise.

Topics include:

  • Opportunity discovery
  • Product-technology roadmapping
  • Product development processes
  • Go-to-market strategies
  • Product launch
  • Lifecycle management
  • Central role of product manager in each activity
Digital Product Management Lab

Projects

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Action Learning

Extending precision agriculture beyond aerial imaging

Ceres Imaging, a venture-backed agriculture technology company, approached PM-Lab to inform their decisions about launching a new product.

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Readying products for the market

Students help companies with their product management strategy, from the product design stage to development and marketing. In 2021, 82 students worked with 40 hosts from 7 different industries. 

Project companies by industry

B2B/SaaS

  • AirWorks
  • Boss Insights
  • Contack 
  • Hardworkers
  • IDEO
  • Metrika
  • WellMode

Consumer

  • Agni
  • CarGurus
  • Charli Cohen
  • Embr Labs
  • Loop
  • Strava
  • Whoop
  • Wiley

E-commerce

  • Klaviyo
  • Thras.IO

Edtech

  • Fuzu
  • qBraid
  • Raga Labs
  • Trybe

Fintech/real estate

  • Apartment List
  • Elphi
  • EverQuote
  • HaloDAO
  • Intralinks
  • Juno
  • Let's Get Set
  • Softcom

Healthtech

  • 1uphealth
  • Ginger Health
  • Grand Rounds
  • Inito
  • LeanTaaS
  • Mumble Melody

Sustainability/IoT

  • Acoustic Wells
  • Adaviv
  • Blue Wave Solar
  • Ceres Imaging
  • REsurety


 

Digital Product Management Lab

Info for students

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The class

This course equips students with the skills required to hit the ground running as a product manager for a software product. These skills are as relevant to the management of a feature within a larger product, as they are to the management of the entire product surface area at a young startup.

The class covers:

  • Lean principles in customer development
  • Lean product development through rapid iteration of MVPs. Pivoting in real life
  • The modern cloud ecosystem and how software is architected on it today
  • A UX development workshop and usability testing
  • Agile software development via Scrum
  • Learning through experimentation and A/B testing
  • A practitioner career retrospective on going from CEO-of-the-product to CEO

A number of these class sessions will be co-led by well-regarded practitioners. Recitations will focus on learning the use of tools (such as Balsamiq, Confluence, Jira, and Google Cloud Console) that complement some of the above sessions. In emphasizing that becoming a successful PM requires a great deal of learning by doing, students will work in fixed teams of 3 – 4 students over the six weeks of class to:

  1. Identify a customer problem
  2. Build a lightweight (3-4 page) market requirement document (MRD) for the product
  3. Build a lightweight (3-4 page) product requirement document (PRD) for the product
  4. Release a PR/FAQ for the product

Cross-functional teams (e.g. MBAs, MBAns, SFMBAs) are encouraged but not required.

 

Details

PM-Lab is partnered with the Product Management Club, one of the largest clubs at MIT Sloan. The lab portion of the course starts in January during IAP, and is 6 credits. Students enrolled in the lab are required to take the 15.785 Digital Product Management course portion in H3, which is an additional 6 credits. Students who are matched with a project will automatically be enrolled in the H3 course. Students taking PM-Lab do not have to bid for the course portion. 

Student testimonial

  • Tommy Shi, MBA '22

    As part of a relatively lean team, I had the opportunity to get my hands on many different facets of the product development process, from driving research conversations with users to wireframing the product experience to drafting an initial database design. Through working with developers, I gained a better sense of how development teams think through the technical architecture behind products, the questions that are important to them, and how a PM can streamline their work.  

    Despite experiencing only a sliver of a PM’s scope of work, I gained critical takeaways in approaching product strategy and leading implementation that I can undoubtedly take into my own experiences down the road. 

     

Digital Product Management Lab

Info for hosts

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Benefits of becoming a host organization

PM-Lab offers an invaluable opportunity for students to work on a real time PM project over four weeks from January to early February, while also providing companies an opportunity to build connections with MIT Sloan students.

Some benefits of hosting a PM-Lab team include:

  • Support on company product strategy (e.g. understanding the market landscape and analyzing competitive products for an enterprise e-commerce company, then developing a prioritized product feature roadmap)
  • Support in implementation and execution (e.g. validating product-market fit, funnel and conversion impact analysis, creating epics/user stories for an MVP)
  • Streamlining recruiting process for summer internships and beyond
  • Improved presence and reputation on-campus at MIT

Roles and responsibilities

Host companies must be able to:

  • Identify and scope PM projects for at least 2 students
  • Support a 4-week experience
  • Submit description of host company and project to be included in a company book
  • Attend virtual Networking Night on November 10, 2021
  • Delegate a mentor (preferably a PM) for the student through the duration of PM-Lab
  • Engage in mid-review and final-review sessions in which students can receive feedback
  • Complete a post-program survey

Interested in becoming a host?

If you are interested in hosting a PM-Lab team, please contact pm.officers@sloangroups.mit.edu by November 3, 2021 with the number of student spots available.
 

Host testimonial

  • Eilon Shalev, MBA '19, co-founder and CEO of Elphi

    Elphi has been an avid partner of PM-Lab from its inception in IAP 2019. We have been blessed to have worked with two, three, and six PMs during IAP 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. Elphi has had four surges of product breakthroughs thus far, three of them were during and because of MIT PM-Lab MBAs. In only 3/4 weeks, students were able to hit the ground running, assume responsibilities on core product requirements, conduct user research with actual Elphi clients and users, craft a product roadmap, prioritize tasks, create JIRA tickets for engineers, manage engineers daily, deliver actual code into our cloud-native testing environments, and delineate next steps for the product enhancements. Can it even get any better than this? Join us next IAP to figure it out for yourselves!

Host timeline

  • November 10, 2021

    Company presentation and Networking Night with MIT Sloan.

  • November 23, 2021

    Student matches are confirmed with host companies.

  • January 3 - 28, 2022

    Four-week PM-Lab experience. 

Application/matching process

  • Participating students receive a company book with host company projects and descriptions ahead of the Networking Night
  • Each student submits an application, including a list of preferences for host companies
  • Sloan faculty review applications and match students with companies, based on interest and skill. Companies can request certain criteria of candidates (e.g. industry knowledge)
  • Sloan faculty/ the PM club will reach out to the company for final confirmation before confirming the match.
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