Master of Professional Studies in Product Management >  Academics

Courses

The Master of Professional Studies in Product Management’s 30-credit, 10-course curriculum can be completed in 15-months, with students enrolling in two 3-credit courses per 12-week term.

Term 1 of 5: Customer Discovery

Purpose

Discover if the problem is worth solving by identifying the customer and marketplace through opportunity analysis and innovation management strategies.

Courses

"Innovative Ideas and Concept Development" and "Strategies for Managing Innovation"

Description

Customer discovery is the process of using ideation methods and minimum viable prototypes to discover and test product-customer fit.  This is the first step in any new product development lifecycle, be it a new product line, an extension into a market segment, or a whole new line of business.  We cover the techniques you need to answer these key questions:

  • Is the problem worth solving?
  • Is the customer worth having?
  • Do we want to be in this market?

Term 2 of 5: Product Discovery

Purpose

Design a customer-validated business model for a product that delivers value and works for the business with innovative thinking.

Courses

"Innovative Thinking" and "Business Modeling and Customer Validation"

Description

Product discovery is all about early risk tackling and validating the product. This means using innovative thinking and customer discovery techniques to confirm your product-market fit. These techniques and skills will enable you to answer the most important questions about your product:

  • Is the value proposition compelling?
  • Does the business model make sense?
  • Can we build this in a scalable way?

Term 3 of 5: Product Design

Purpose

Enable business agility using DevOps engineering and data science to scale product discovery and delivery, while empowering product teams.

Courses

"Data Analysis and Decision Making" and "Managing Product Development and Production"

Description

With a customer- validated idea, the product manager must lead through vision, evangelism, strategy, roadmaps, and clear goal-setting via OKRs. Lean analytics, trade-spaces for design optimization, and team performance relies on great data science.

To do this requires DevOps principles for engineering, and empowering teams through modern product leadership. Product managers must enable productivity and delivery by actively influencing the delivery pipeline to address scalability, reliability, performance, and maintainability.

Term 4 of 5: Gaining Traction and Influence

Purpose

Gain traction through actively managing the customer journey, while influencing stakeholders and negotiating business partnerships that drive growth.

Courses

"Marketing and Selling Innovations" and "Negotiation and Problem-Solving"

Description

With modern product frameworks in place, marketing takes on completely new dimensions. The rise of growth hacking means finding your optimal growth channel and driving customers into it. Therefore, the product is no longer just “the features,” but the entire customer journey.

Meanwhile, negotiating a great business relationship can often leap a product or company an order of magnitude higher in customer access and acquisition, while reducing costs.

Term 5 of 5: Managing Products at Scale

Purpose

Lead product portfolios and innovation at scale with tailored product frameworks, lean budgeting, empowered teams, and aligned objectives and key results.

Courses

"Financing Innovation and Growth" and "Building and Leading Innovative Organizations"

Description

As products scale and diversify across market segments, and vertically orchestrate as product suites, how do you keep innovating? Delivery and growth create momentum that push down on costs and people to do more with less. This is the greatest challenge for product leaders and heads of innovation.

Learn how to establish product frameworks for flow, empower teams, leverage lean budgeting strategically for product value streams, manage long-term product teams and continuous employee engagement, and ensure that every aspect of the product work ties to business value, key financials, and the objectives and key results (OKRs).

Featured Faculty

James Green on LinkedIn

Dr. James V. Green

Innovative Ideas & Concept Development

Biography

Dr. Green leads the education activities of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) at the University of Maryland. As Managing Director of Learning and Development, he leads the Master of Professional Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship and Minor in Technology Entrepreneurship, designs and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, leads seed funding programs, and manages residential entrepreneurship programs for students. In 2011, he earned first prize in the 3E Learning Innovative Entrepreneurship Education Competition presented at the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) annual conference to recognize college educators who have created new and challenging learning activities that actively involve students in the entrepreneurial experience. Prior to the University of Maryland, Dr. Green held founder, executive, and operational roles with multiple startups to include WaveCrest Laboratories (an innovator in next-generation electric and hybrid-electric propulsion and drive systems), Cyveillance (a software startup and world leader in cyber intelligence and intelligence-led security), and NetMentors (the first national career development eMentoring community). Dr. Green earned a Doctor of Management and an MS in Technology Management from the University of Maryland University College, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Thomas Mierzwa on LinkedIn

Dr. Thomas J. Mierzwa

Strategies for Managing Innovation

Biography

Dr. Mierzwa has more than 20 years of teaching experience at University of Maryland and other universities, with courses in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. His teaching philosophy centers on building student competency through course design and teaching exercises, and his research interests include innovation processes, opportunity recognition, design thinking and conceptual tools for learning objects. Dr. Mierzwa founded The Fountainhead Group, a team of specialists who conduct innovation audits, and is the founder of Creative Agreements, a professional services firm that uses a mediation approach to form working agreements among business owners during venture start-ups. He serves on advisory boards of several Maryland businesses. At the Academy of Management, he chairs a committee on non-traditional academics and is active on the Teaching Theme Committee. He is also a board member of the Executive DBA Council, an institution of member schools fostering development of practitioner-scholar doctoral programs worldwide. Dr. Mierzwa earned a Doctor of Public Administration in strategic management from the University of Southern California and a master's in urban design from Harvard University.

Daniel Gordon on LinkedIn

Daniel Gordon

Business Modeling and Customer Validation

Biography

Dan Gordon has over 30 years of experience working with technology, as a computer scientist, software developer, manager, analyst, and entrepreneur. As a technology partner with Valhalla Partners, Dan brings together the most respected and successful venture investors in the region. Valhalla Partners' present and past investments have resulted in 27 M&As, 22 IPOs, and over $1 billion in investment proceeds. Prior to joining Valhalla Partners, Dan was a director and senior staff member at the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Technology Centre, analyzing technology trends and consulting on technology-oriented strategies in the software, e-business, wireless, optical, networking, semiconductor, and life sciences arenas. He worked with clients from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. Dan was a Contributing Writer and Contributing Editor to the Technology Centre's annual Technology Forecast, and a frequent speaker at industry and general business meetings. Prior to joining PwC, Dan spent 20 years in Silicon Valley as a software technologist, manager, director, and entrepreneur, including senior technical roles at well-known Silicon Valley firms like Symantec, Intuit, and Oracle. Dan has also been involved in startup companies in the applied artificial intelligence and web applications fields. Dan has a BA from Harvard University and an MS from New York University in Computer Science.

Frankie Abralind on LinkedIn

Frankie Abralind

Innovative Thinking

Biography

Frankie Abralind is the founder of HTA Design Thinking, a business strategy consulting firm that uses the human-centered process to help companies grow. His expertise is in design thinking, service design, and user experience. Frankie is the director of Design Thinking DC, a 2,200 member community of design thinkers in Washington, DC. He brings together people from business, design, technology and beyond to learn and share best practices and creative solutions. Frankie is a champion of radical collaboration on methodologies, practices, and experiences to facilitate and deliver innovation in the world. Previously, Frankie served as creative director for Branson & Byrne, a creative marketing agency, and in executive operational and marketing roles with manufacturing firms. After studying design at Cornell University, Frankie earned his MBA at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.

Daniel Gordon on LinkedIn

Gregory Baecher

Data Analysis and Decision Making

Biography

Dr. Baecher is a geotechnical engineer by training but has spent much of his career working on risk and reliability of civil infrastructure, and statistical methods for spatial sampling and data visualization. Immediately prior to joining UMCP he was President of ConSolve Inc, an information technology company located in Lexington, MA. Prior to that, he was Professor of Civil Engineering at MIT. He is an active consultant to government and industry on risk and reliability of constructed facilities, especially in water resources development, dam safety, and coastal protection.

Frankie Abralind on LinkedIn

John Johnson

Managing Product Development and Production

Biography

John Johnson serves as the Strategic Program Manager at the University of Maryland, College Park, Project Management Center for Excellence. He leads the initiatives that help grow the Project Management Center for Excellence across its three pillars: Academic Excellence, Outreach and Professional Development, and Research. He is primarily responsible for the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) program, which currently is educating over 100,000 enrolled learners across the world. Mr. Johnson also teaches graduate courses on Agile and Predictive management at the University of Maryland’s Project Management Program. Mr. Johnson serves as the Strategic Advisor for Softek Enterprises LLC. Established in 2007, Softek specializes in evolving business systems using Agile, DevOps, and Cloud technologies to deliver working solutions faster for the government’s most critical IT challenges. Previously, Mr. Johnson served as CTO of Sotek and worked closely with senior Agency influencers to explore and develop solutions. During his tenure he more than doubled Softek revenue annually, while leading multiple deliveries for clients and partners. Prior to Softek, Mr. Johnson served as Senior Agile Project Manager with IBM, where he led multiple development teams building applications for the National Archives Records Administration (NARA). These applications were built on Amazon’s Gov Cloud (AWS) with cutting-edge cloud technologies to process, store, and search the hundreds of petabytes of government records expected at NARA by 2020. This project won “Project of the Year” across all of IBM globally for its success in project management innovation in 2015. He also worked as a Management Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led projects for the Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy from optimizing site investments and posture for Reserve forces, to developing award-winning project analysis and portfolio management software to optimize billions in shore energy investments.

Daniel Gordon on LinkedIn

Michael Pratt

Financing Innovation and Growth

Biography

Michael Pratt teaches and mentors students in University of Maryland's Minor in Technology Entrepreneurship Program and the General Education Program of the University. His career spans 35 years in management and finance, in both domestic and international organizations, and almost two decades in startups and venture capital, having raised over $100 million for eleven different startup ventures. Michael is the co-founder and Managing Partner in Select Venture Partners LLC, an early stage, post-seed/pre-Series A investment management firm. Prior to co-founding Select, he was co-founder and CEO of SpydrSafe Mobile Security, Inc., a mobile application security management platform that safeguarded enterprise data by controlling apps on smartphones and tablets (iOS and Android). SpydrSafe was acquired in February 2014. Prior to SpydrSafe, he was COO of CardStar, Inc., a mobile loyalty company sold to Constant Contact (NASDAQ: CTCT). From 2006 to 2010, Michael was the CFO/COO of Trust Digital, Inc., a venture-backed Mobile Device Management company sold to McAfee (NYSE: MFE). Prior to Trust, he was CFO of Galt Associates, Inc., a venture-backed software company sold to Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ: CERN) in July 2006. His earlier professional experience includes CEO of CrossMedia Networks Corp.; CEO of Point of Care Technologies (sold to Siemens Healthcare in 1999); various senior finance and operating roles with Mobil Corporation, including President and General Manager of three Mobil subsidiaries. Michael began his professional career with Arthur Andersen & Co. He holds a BS in Finance from East Carolina University, an MBA from Massey University in New Zealand, and an MS in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

Frankie Abralind on LinkedIn

Tushar Rathod

Building and Leading Innovative Organizations

Biography

Mr. Rathod currently works with various corporate and government clients. He leads a team of seasoned product management mentors at Northrop Grumman as a Senior Consultant. At the Social Security Administration, he is advising the CIO’s Office, Executive Management, Office of Enterprise Architecture and the office of the Chief Business Officer on scaling Product Management to the enterprise level. He works on defining and aligning Business Architecture, Value Stream Mapping, Product Portfolio Management, Strategy Execution Framework using OKRs & KPIs and alignment of funding models with value driven prioritization. In other assignments, he has been involved with rolling out Cloud Architecture, Infrastructure Automation, Tooling & Security across AWS & Azure. A passion for academics led him to teach Project Management at Towson University (400-series undergraduate level) from 2011 to 2016. He continues to teach the PMP Prep Course at Towson University’s Center for Professional Studies. Mr. Rathod also teaches Agile Project Management & PMP Prep at UMBC Training Centers. In the past, he has taught at Baltimore County Community College, Howard Community College and University of Maryland Global Campus. Mr. Rathod is currently teaching a flipped classroom style full-stack Product Management Certification course at The Product School in Silicon Valley, California. He evaluates start-ups for investor groups such as USM Maryland Momentum Fund, provides organizational transformation consulting to non-profits such as The American Chemical Society in Washington D.C. He conducts corporate trainings in Product Management, Agility, Change Management, etc. for private organizations such as T. Rowe Price & Northrop Grumman, mentors Executive Leadership, and advises large businesses on rolling out and scaling Product Management practices in alignment with their Project Delivery and Operations frameworks to maximize value creation.