300 episodes

Welcome to Product Mastery Now, where you learn the 7 knowledge areas for product mastery. We teach the product management practices that elevate your influence and create products your customers love as you move toward product mastery. To learn about all seven areas and assess your strengths in product mastery, go to my website -- https://productmasterynow.com -- and click the Podcast button at the top of the page. Hosted by Chad McAllister, product management professor and practitioner.

Product Mastery Now for Product Managers, Leaders, and Innovators Chad McAllister, PhD

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 6 Ratings

Welcome to Product Mastery Now, where you learn the 7 knowledge areas for product mastery. We teach the product management practices that elevate your influence and create products your customers love as you move toward product mastery. To learn about all seven areas and assess your strengths in product mastery, go to my website -- https://productmasterynow.com -- and click the Podcast button at the top of the page. Hosted by Chad McAllister, product management professor and practitioner.

    498: Real-world use of product life cycle management – with John Rovnan

    498: Real-world use of product life cycle management – with John Rovnan

    Mastering product lifecycle management – for product managers

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    Product lifecycle management is key to successful product development and innovation. This article explores the stages of a product’s life, from launch to retirement, and how they differ across industries and product types. Here are the main takeaways:

    * The classic product lifecycle stages are introduction, growth, maturity, decline, and retirement.

    * For software and SaaS products, development and lifecycle management often overlap.

    * Ongoing customer feedback is vital throughout the product’s life.

    * Teamwork across different departments is crucial for effective lifecycle management.

    * Strategies need to be adapted for different types of products and industries.

    * Innovation is key to extending and improving the product lifecycle.

    Understanding these ideas and using them well can help product managers handle the complexities of product lifecycle management and drive innovation in their companies.


    In today’s fast-moving business world, product lifecycle management is a must-have tool for product managers and innovators. As markets change and customer needs shift, knowing how to guide a product through its various life stages is crucial for staying competitive and growing. Today we’re with John Rovnan, who takes us through the details of product lifecycle management, explaining strategies and best practices to help product managers excel.

    Understanding the Product Lifecycle

    The product lifecycle is a core concept in product management and innovation strategies. It covers a product’s entire journey from idea to market retirement. Let’s break down the traditional stages of the product lifecycle:


    What Happens


    The product is launched and introduced to customers


    Sales and market share grow quickly


    Sales growth slows down, competition increases


    Sales decrease as newer products enter the market


    The product is taken off the market

    It’s important to note that the product lifecycle can look very different depending on the type of product and its industry. For example, a software product’s lifecycle might be quite different from a medical device’s lifecycle.

    In regulated industries like healthcare, the product lifecycle often faces more constraints due to rules and regulations. This can affect how quickly changes can be made to a product and what strategies can be used throughout its life.

    When Product Development and Lifecycle Management Overlap

    One key insight from the podcast is that product development and lifecycle management are increasingly overlapping, especially in software and SaaS industries.

    This blending of stages offers both opportunities and challenges for product managers. On one hand, it allows for more flexible and responsive product development, with the ability to quickly make changes based on customer feedback. On the other hand, it can make it harder to clearly separate different stages of the product lifecycle.

    For software products, the traditional “big bang” launch is often replaced by a more gradual rollout, with features being introduced bit by bit. This approach allows product managers to:

    * Use the software itself as part of the research process

    * Try techniques like “concierge MVPs” and “fake doors” to gauge interest

    * Continuously gather and use customer feedback

    However, this blurring of development and lifecycle management can also create challenges. For example, product managers can get mired in the backlog a...

    • 31 min
    497: Mastering product management strategy – with Andreas Maihoefer

    497: Mastering product management strategy – with Andreas Maihoefer

    Essential strategy tools and frameworks for product managers

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    Want to level up your product management game? This guide dives into the world of product strategy, sharing insights from expert Andreas Maihoefer. We’ll explore key tools like the House of Strategy, which shows how different levels of strategy fit together, and the VRIO analysis, which helps you spot your competitive edge. You’ll learn how to define your business’s core and why planning is crucial, even if plans change. Whether you’re new to product management or looking to sharpen your skills, this article will help you think more strategically and create products your customers will love.


    Ever felt like you’re navigating the wild world of product management without a compass? You’re not alone. Many product managers know strategy is important, but struggle to develop and use it effectively. This knowledge gap can slow down your career and limit your impact on your company’s success.

    That’s where Andreas Maihoefer comes in. He’s a strategy whiz with experience in both the corporate world and academia. In this article, we’ll share his insights to help you level up your strategic thinking and become a product management superstar.

    Why Strategy Matters in Product Management

    Think of strategy as your product’s North Star. It guides your decisions, helps you prioritize features, and positions your product in the market. Without a solid strategy, you might end up with a cool product that nobody wants to buy.

    Maihoefer stresses that understanding strategy is crucial for product managers. It’s not just about creating great products – it’s about aligning your work with your company’s big-picture goals. Master this, and you’ll see your career take off as your influence in the company grows.

    Picking the Right Strategy Tools

    Before we dive into specific tools, let’s talk about what makes a strategy tool useful. Maihoefer says a good tool should:

    * Help you plan and think clearly

    * Make it easy to work with others

    * Help you explain your ideas visually

    * Let you track progress and put plans into action

    Here’s a pro tip: Don’t rely on just one tool. Using multiple tools gives you a more complete picture of your strategic landscape.

    The House of Strategy: Your Strategic Blueprint

    Imagine your company’s strategy as a house. This mental picture, called the House of Strategy, helps you see how different levels of strategy fit together.

    The Roof: Your Company’s Foundation

    At the top, we have your company’s mission (why you exist), vision (where you’re going), and values (how you behave). These guide all your strategic decisions.

    The Attic: Corporate Strategy

    Just below the roof is your overall company strategy. This is how you plan to achieve your mission and vision while sticking to your values.

    Upper Floors: Business Unit Strategies

    These strategies are for different parts of your company, like specific product lines. They need to line up with the corporate strategy above.

    Lower Floors: Functional and Operational Strategies

    At the ground level, we have strategies for different departments (like marketing or HR) and day-to-day operations. These show how each part of the company contributes to the bigger picture.

    The House of Strategy reminds us that all these levels need to work together. It’s like having an elevator connecting all the floors – information and ideas should flow up and down easily.

    Defining Your Core: What Makes You Special?

    Another key part of product strategy is knowing your company’s core – what makes you unique. This idea comes from Chris Zook of Bain & Company,

    • 32 min
    496: Navigating career changes and personal growth as a product manager – with Tom Leung

    496: Navigating career changes and personal growth as a product manager – with Tom Leung

    Product management and the tech industry

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    In this episode, former Google product management director Tom Leung shares his experiences with recent tech industry layoffs and offers valuable advice for product managers facing career changes. Key takeaways include:

    * Seeing layoffs as chances for personal and professional growth

    * Embracing a “gap year” mindset to explore new experiences and skills

    * Focusing on solving big customer problems in product development

    * Adapting to the changing job market for product managers

    * Balancing innovation with practical value in the age of AI and new tech

    Product managers can use these insights to navigate career shifts, boost their skills, and approach product development with a fresh focus on customer needs and market demand.

    The Changing Landscape of Tech Employment

    The tech world has seen big changes lately, with even giants like Google facing restructuring and layoffs. Tom Leung, who used to be a director of product management at Google, shares his firsthand experience with the company’s 2023 layoffs. His story gives us a peek into how the tech job market is changing and what it means for product managers, along with tips for navigating smartly.

    Google’s Restructuring and Layoffs in 2023

    In January 2023, Google started a series of layoffs. Leung remembers the strange experience of telling team members about the changes. He joined Google in 2006, and up until 2023 he saw very few layoffs.

    The first wave of layoffs in January was followed by more throughout the year, affecting top-performing employees. This change in how Google treated its workers showed how unstable the tech job market can be and why product managers need to be ready for unexpected career changes.

    Impact on Company Culture and Feeling Safe at Work

    The layoffs had a big effect on Google’s company culture, especially when it came to feeling safe at work. Leung explains that one of Google’s core values is psychological safety because if you have really strong psychological safety in the team, you can bring out the best performance. The layoffs pierced the veil of safety.

    This shift made many employees rethink how secure their jobs were and what their career paths might look like. It shows why it’s important for product managers to be flexible and keep learning new skills.

    Personal Stories of Career Changes

    Leung’s journey from Google to new opportunities offers valuable lessons for product managers facing career changes. His experience shows the importance of embracing change and seeing setbacks as potential opportunities to grow.

    From Google to New Adventures

    After working at Google for 10 years, Leung was already thinking about a career change. When he was affected by the layoffs in 2023, he chose to see it as an opportunity rather than a problem.

    Embracing the “Gap Year” Mindset

    Leung suggests looking at career changes as a “paid sabbatical” or “gap year.” He encourages product managers to use this time to grow personally and professionally. He shares his own experiences:

    * Working on a presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire

    * Teaching product management classes

    * Making angel investments in promising startups

    * Exploring potential startup ideas

    This approach allows product managers to learn new skills, explore different interests, and maybe even find new career paths.

    Advice for Product Managers Facing Career Changes

    Drawing from his experiences, Leung offers valuable tips for product managers navigating career transitions in today’s tech world.

    Seeing Layoffs as Opportunities

    Instead of viewing layoffs as purely negative, Leung encourages product managers to see them as chances for g...

    • 32 min
    495: The reframing secret to getting a product management job – with Mary Baird

    495: The reframing secret to getting a product management job – with Mary Baird

    How to successfully transition to a product management role

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    Transitioning from one career to another is full of challenges, especially when the two fields seem vastly different. However, as Mary Baird’s inspiring story shows, a successful pivot from nonprofit leadership to product management is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. In this article, we’ll explore Mary’s journey, the strategies she used to reframe her experience, and the valuable lessons she learned along the way.

    From Nonprofit Leadership to Product Management

    Mary Baird spent a decade in various nonprofit leadership roles, handling a wide range of responsibilities, from donor development and resource management to program management and even website design. This diverse experience, she found, was not unlike working in a product environment. Both require wearing multiple hats, adapting quickly, and managing complex initiatives with limited resources.

    When Mary was asked about considering a role in a global for-profit company, she was both excited and apprehensive. While confident in her nonprofit expertise, Mary wasn’t sure if her skills would translate to a product management role. Determined to make the transition, she sought guidance from Chad McAllister, host of the Product Mastery Now podcast.

    Making a career change to product management can be intimidating, especially when coming from a seemingly unrelated field. However, Mary’s experience in nonprofit leadership provided her with a unique set of transferable skills that would prove invaluable in her new role. These skills included:

    * Stakeholder management and communication

    * Complex problem-solving and decision-making

    * Resource allocation and budgeting

    * Program development and implementation

    * Adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges

    By recognizing the value of these skills and learning how to effectively articulate their relevance to product management, Mary set herself up for a successful transition.

    One of the key similarities between Mary’s nonprofit work and product management was the focus on understanding and meeting the needs of a target audience. In the nonprofit world, this meant identifying the needs of the community and developing programs and services to address those needs. In product management, it involves understanding the needs and pain points of customers and creating products that solve their problems.

    Another transferable skill that Mary brought from her nonprofit experience was the ability to collaborate with and influence a diverse group of stakeholders. In her previous roles, she worked closely with board members, donors, volunteers, and community partners to achieve common goals. This experience prepared her for the cross-functional nature of product management, where success often depends on the ability to align and motivate teams across different departments and disciplines.

    Preparing for the Transition

    To prepare for her career change to product management, Mary focused on three key areas:

    * Immersing herself in product management podcasts to learn the language and concepts of the field

    * Reframing her nonprofit experience to highlight transferable skills relevant to product management

    * Participating in mock interviews to practice communicating her value and making authentic connections

    By listening to podcasts like Product Mastery Now, Mary began to see parallels between her nonprofit work and product management. For example, she realized that the fundraising campaigns she led were essentially selling intangible products, requiring her to articulate value propositions, manage stakeholder expectations, and measure success through key metrics. She was selling a product that you cannot touch, hold, or take home.

    • 27 min
    494: Developing Skills in Product Management and Leadership – with Chad McAllister, PhD

    494: Developing Skills in Product Management and Leadership – with Chad McAllister, PhD

    What product managers need to elevate their careers

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    In this episode, I share insights on developing essential skills for product management and leadership. I explain how mastering the seven knowledge areas of product management outlined by the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) can help product managers elevate their careers and create products that customers love. I explore the key objectives and challenges faced by product managers and offer both easy-to-implement and harder-to-implement takeaways to enhance product management practices. By focusing on customer-centric product development, strategic alignment, portfolio management, project selection, and product life cycle management, product managers can sharpen their skills and drive successful product innovation.


    In today’s fast-paced business world, product management plays a pivotal role in creating products that not only captivate customers but also drive business success. As a product manager or leader, continuously developing and refining your skills is essential for career growth and making a lasting impact. This article summarizes key concepts and takeaways on developing essential skills for product management and leadership.

    On the Product Mastery Now podcast, we simplify the seven key areas that form the foundation of the Product Management Body of Knowledge. By mastering these areas, you can unlock your full potential as a product manager and lead your organization to new success.

    The Seven Knowledge Areas from PDMA

    The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) has identified seven critical knowledge areas that are essential for product management success. These areas have been extensively researched and curated since 1976, forming the bedrock of the product management body of knowledge. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas:

    * Product Strategy: Developing a clear and compelling product vision and roadmap that aligns with the organization’s goals and customer needs.

    * Portfolio Management: Managing the mix of products and projects to optimize resource allocation and maximize business value.

    * New Product Development Process: Implementing a structured approach to guide products from ideation to launch and beyond.

    * Culture, Teams, and Leadership: Fostering a collaborative and innovative environment that empowers teams to excel.

    * Tools and Metrics: Leveraging data-driven insights and tools to make informed decisions and measure success.

    * Market Research: Gathering and analyzing customer and market data to identify opportunities and validate product concepts.

    * Life Cycle Management: Managing products throughout their entire life cycle, from introduction to growth, maturity, and decline.

    By dedicating yourself to mastering these knowledge areas, you’ll develop the skills and confidence needed to create products that customers love and drive business success.

    Objectives and Challenges in Product Management

    As a product manager, you’ll face many objectives and challenges in your role. Some of the key objectives you’ll strive to achieve include:

    * Launching products that customers can’t resist

    * Meeting and exceeding revenue and profit expectations

    * Aligning your efforts with the organization’s strategic objectives

    * Accelerating time-to-market for new products

    However, the path to achieving these objectives is often laden with challenges. Common hurdles that product managers face include:

    * Maintaining a laser focus on the customer

    * Juggling project deadlines and competing priorities

    * Overcoming silos and fostering cross-functional collaboration

    * Ensuring consistency and discipline in product development processes

    • 34 min
    493: Perfecting Product Culture and Teams: Seventh Knowledge Area of Product Mastery – with Chad McAllister, PhD

    493: Perfecting Product Culture and Teams: Seventh Knowledge Area of Product Mastery – with Chad McAllister, PhD

    How product managers can master product culture and teams

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    In this episode, I dive into the seventh knowledge area of product mastery: culture and teams. We explore the importance of fostering an innovation culture, understanding team dynamics, and navigating product teams’ common challenges. Key takeaways include:

    * The impact of organizational culture and climate on product success

    * Factors that contribute to a thriving innovation culture

    * Characteristics of high-performing product teams

    * Strategies for resolving conflicts and promoting collaboration

    * The importance of strategic alignment, engagement, and empowerment in product teams

    I also provide practical tips for assessing and improving your team’s performance, as well as resources for continued learning and growth in product management and product development.

    Understanding and Fostering an Innovation Culture

    Culture is the foundation of successful product innovation. It encompasses the shared beliefs, values, and expectations of people within an organization. Climate, on the other hand, refers to the localized characteristics in a specific work environment, such as a product team or group.

    Several factors influence team climate, including:

    * Leadership approach and quality

    * Communication frequency and style

    * Task responsibilities and workload

    * Trust and autonomy among team members

    * Recognition and rewards at both individual and team levels

    * Opportunities for advancement and growth

    To create a thriving innovation culture, organizations should focus on:

    * Clearly communicating strategic and innovation goals across all levels

    * Accepting failures as learning opportunities

    * Recognizing and rewarding individual and team performance in support of innovation goals

    * Considering both functional capability and cultural fit when making hiring decisions

    * Ensuring clear and consistent internal and external communications

    * Encouraging constructive conflict to support idea generation and problem-solving

    * Providing engaging work and encouraging professional and personal growth

    A great example of a company with a strong innovation culture is 3M. They practice “customer-inspired innovation,” connecting with customers to identify their needs and leveraging 3M’s capabilities to develop unique, proprietary, and sustainable solutions.

    The Fundamentals of Effective Teams

    A team is a small group of individuals with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for achieving those goals. They hold themselves mutually accountable for their progress and success.

    Product teams are typically cross-functional, consisting of individuals from various functions such as product management, engineering, design, marketing, and finance. Cross-functional teams offer several benefits, including:

    * Improved speed of product development

    * Increased probability of product success

    * Enhanced problem-solving capabilities

    * Greater adaptability to changing market conditions

    Navigating Common Team Challenges

    Conflict is a natural part of innovation projects due to the diverse working styles and priorities of team members. High-performing teams view conflict as a positive force for achieving desired results and leveraging the strengths of all involved.

    The Thompson-Killman model provides five approaches to conflict resolution based on levels of cooperativeness and assertiveness:








    Withdrawing from the problem, leaving it unresolved

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

R.amsay ,

Insightful and engaging!

The "Product Mastery Now" podcast is definitely worth checking out. Chad’s an engaging interviewer and brings on insightful guests. I love that it does a great job of breaking down complex concepts and making them accessible to listeners, whether you're a seasoned product manager or just starting out.

Allan Neil from Toronto ,


Chad brings value consistently. -Allan from Product Centric

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