Field Course: Product Management 102 - Harvard Business School MBA Program

Field Course: Product Management 102

Course Number 6702

Senior Lecturer Julia Austin
Lecturer Melissa Perri
Teaching Fellow Christina Pawlikowski
Spring; Q3Q4; 3 credits

Course Meetings: Mondays, Weekly 3:30-5:00. 

See the course website for more detail.

Enrollment: Limited to 50 students by application; first priority to enrolled PM101 students. New EC students may apply as product “Joiners” by application

Returning PM101 students must confirm their decision to continue by Jan 10
Applications for new student Joiners for existing teams are due Dec 27; Notification of acceptance no later than Jan 24.


Product Management 102 (PM102) is Spring Term extension of the Fall Term field course Product Management 101 (HBS course 6701; see the PM101/102 syllabus here). Like PM101, PM102 is a project-based course that uses a learning-by-doing approach; none of PM102's sessions will entail case discussion. The final project is a demonstrable Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

PM 102 will hone skills required for developing and launching a new software application. Working in teams, PM102 students will select, hire and then supervise developers and/or designers who will build their application.

During development, students will answer designers’ and developers' questions about product requirements; conduct usability tests to ensure that the application being built will meet users' needs; and track development progress, revising priorities as appropriate. Throughout the development process,  students will: 1) identify bugs and determine which should be fixed first; 2) monitor early usage, collecting and interpreting data needed to prioritize additional features; and 3) iterate to improve the product. In parallel with these development tasks, students will conceive and implement a marketing plan for their product launch.

PM102's weekly sessions will focus on building and practicing skills required during the software development lifecycle, for example: how to select, negotiate a contract with and supervise a developer; how to write user stories and estimate the development effort required to complete them; how to conduct usability tests; use analytics tools; how to do growth marketing; and how to design and implement an A/B test. In addition to skill-building workshops, PM102's sessions will feature intensive peer-to-peer and outside expert feedback on project work-in-progress.

Deliverables for PM102 will include: 1) a developer contract and cost budget, with ongoing tracking of actual spending against budget; 2) a detailed launch/marketing plan; 3) task scenarios for usability testing; 4) a video demonstrating how a user can complete key tasks using your software; and 5) a reflection essay on lessons learned from the course. Students will regularly present work-in-progress and will participate in a live demo day at the conclusion of the semester.

Application Process

All students who successfully complete PM101 are automatically eligible to enroll in PM102; they can simply complete this survey by January 10 with their request to continue and do not need to complete the application described below. Subject to an assessment of students' fit with skill and project requirements, some students who did not take PM101 will be enrolled to be a Joiner in PM102 by application. Please note that due to budget constraints, applications cannot be accepted for new projects founded by students who have not successfully completed PM101.

Applications, to be reviewed by Prof. Austin, must be submitted by December 27, through this form, which also provides more detail on selection criteria. Applicants will be informed of enrollment decisions on or before January 24. Successful applicants who choose to enroll will use the Add/Drop process as needed to adjust other credits for the term.