Product Management Training for Organizations, Groups & Product Teams
using our exclusive approach, the...
Integrated Study Group
What is the Integrated Study Group
This is the most effective approach to impart knowledge and best practices in a way that results in behavioral change, increased peer accountability, and increased collaboration. We call it the Integrated Study Group.
What makes the Integrated Study Group approach successful are four elements:
- Individual self-paced learning via an online course
- Virtual cohort discussion and application of concepts and best practices (no travel involved),
- The incorporation of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, and
- Ownership of individual learning and application of what is learned.
Our Integrated Study Group approach has evolved over several years, while working with many groups of product managers and organizations who wanted to become more proficient and more successful in their product management roles. The structure of the approach makes participants responsible for their own learning through the use of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
It works by creating small cohorts of 5 to 12 people who learn, discuss, and apply product management knowledge and best practices together. Study group participants move through a cycle of learning on their own individually and meeting virtually as a cohort to discuss and apply what they have learned. The results are nothing short of magical.
A Customer's Testimonial
Product Specialist, Praxair
"Every Year We Use the Integrated Study Group"
How We Use the Integrated Study Group
Every year we provide a formal training program for our new product managers as part of their onboarding. The Integrated Study Group is the foundation of this training.
Why We Needed the Integrated Study Group
We started the program because we had lost an understanding of why our new product development process was the way it was. Our product management process was established more than 15 years ago by people who were no longer part of the organization. Our product managers knew the process that was in place, but not the reasons for it.
How We Benefited from the Integrated Study Group
The first time we used the Integrated Study Group, our product managers learned the history, theory, and concepts they needed to understand and adapt our processes depending on the specific situation. Product managers gain the big picture and see how all the pieces fit together to make the organization more successful.
Why We Continue Using the Integrated Study Group Each Year
Each time we develop a new product or update a product, the situation may be different from the last time. A shortcut might be used one time when it was appropriate but then taken again the next time when it isn't appropriate. The Integrated Study Group gets everyone on the same page, understanding the fundamentals of good product management.
Additional Benefits We Discovered
The Integrated Study Group creates collaboration among our product managers and product team members across different groups. They learn from each other -- what is and is not working -- sharing best practices they have found. Also, the structure of the study group requires the participants to take ownership of what they are learning and apply it to their work. It results in real behavior change. That would never happen in a workshop format.
Results We Realize
Our product managers are becoming product leaders. Some of these are the people that will be in charge of Product within ten years. The Integrated Study Group equips these leaders. We teach them our stage-gate process, and the Integrated Study Group teaches them what they need to know to understand our process and when to adapt it to a situation. It creates credibility for how we do what we do and increases the confidence of our product people. We see more agility and increased success from our product work.
Why We Recommend the Integrated Study Group
The self-directed learning format and the virtual environment are both effective and efficient. Our people set the specific agenda for the training. The regular discussion and facilitation creates a safe environment for learning and sharing knowledge. In the end, it's all about innovation. The Integrated Study Group enables our product managers to become more innovative.
Endorsed by Professional Groups
The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) and the Association of International Product Marketers and Managers (AIPMM) support our training approach. In fact,
we are the only training provider endorsed by both groups. An honor we appreciate!
We provide the opportunity for participants to prepare for and pass PDMA's New Product Development Professional (NPDP) or AIPMM's Certified Innovation Leader (CIL) certifications. Participants have the confidence that what they are learning and applying in the Integrated Study Group is aligned with professional best practices. But, best practices only go so far -- they need to be applied in a way that fits your organization. That is what the Integrated Study Group accomplishes.
Benefits of the Integrated Study Group
There is a bit of planned magic that occurs in a well-functioning study group that is difficult to appreciate until it has been experienced. The magic results because the group experience, while highly structured, is not highly prescriptive. When product management training is prescriptive, too often what is learned does not make any lasting impact. A good case study in this is LEGO, who pursued one prescriptive approach after another in an attempt to innovate their way back to profitability. Each attempt may have had isolated benefits, but none of them were successful for the organization. On the brink of bankruptcy, they customized an approach to innovation that was organic to the organization and reflected who they were as a company and how they served customers. The Integrated Study Group is a tool for doing the same. Each group is different and each has ownership over the outcomes. We have seen networks created and expanded that foster significant future innovation, existing best practices shared between silos, the success rate of new products increase, participants taking more responsibility for the organization’s success and moving into leadership roles, and much more. A few specific items include:
- Behavior Change. Cohort participants take ownership and responsibility for what they are learning and how it can be applied to their work and to the organization.
- Systems Thinking. Over the course of the cohort experience, participants begin thinking in a more systems and holistic manner. This is vital to fostering an innovation culture and leveraging capabilities across the organization.
- Ongoing Coaching. Product management and innovation expert facilitators coach cohorts towards success.
- Tracking Progress. Extrinsic motivation is provided to participants to make steady progress by sharing with them their progress through the course materials. Managers or other stakeholders can also be provided this information.
- Professional Association Credibility. The knowledge areas covered in Integrated Study Groups are aligned with AIPMM and PDMA, the largest and oldest product management professional groups. The concepts are a synthesis of academic research, wide ranging experience, and best-practice industry performance surveys.
- Certification Opportunity. Participants have the option to earn professional certification from PDMA or AIPMM, with an exam pass rate higher than 95%, which is much higher than the average for these exams.
Why We Don't Rely on Workshops
Just like you, we’ve attended many training workshops in the past. A well-run workshop mixes lecture with interactive experiences. It is designed to help participants interact with the training concepts, following the old adage, “give a person a fish and you feed them for a day, teach a person to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” Yet, even with interactive experiences, training workshops are only minimally effective in helping participants retain what they learned. Worse, they are even less effective with helping participants apply what they did learn to their job. When surveyed, only 12% of participants of training programs say they apply the skills they learned to their job.
The traditional workshop is not an effective tool for creating actual behavior change. We know – we have led many workshops ourselves and even with our best intentions to make the workshops interactive and applicable to the needs of participants, the desired change is seldom observed after the workshop.
That is all different with the Integrated Study Group approach. An Integrated Study Group is the best way to up skill a group, create collaboration, and build product management discipline.
Sometimes it makes sense to follow an Integrated Study Group with a face-to-face workshop. We'll tailor the experience for your needs, creating an optimal experience.
Core Knowledge Areas
- New Product Development (NPD) process,
- Portfolio Management,
- Culture, organization, and teams,
- Tools and metrics,
- Customer and market research, and
- Life cycle management
Want more details? Get started with us...
Call Chad at (719) 377-5037
to learn how the Integrated Study Group can improve the success of your product groups and the success of your organization, creating products that deliver higher value to customers who become loyal fans.
Or, email Chad for more information.