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Building Successful Products in the Real World

How to ideate, test, and create great products for your business

Dave Pinke

One of the most dangerous things a company can do is create a product concept without an understanding of why it is needed or how it will become successful. Good product management ensures that by the time you cut the ribbon on a new product or feature, you know that your customers and users will love it.

In this three-hour course, product management expert Dave Pinke explores the product management mindset and shares best practices to drive sales, generate growth, and make critical decisions for your startup or business. Through a combination of lectures, hands-on exercises, and interactive case studies, you’ll learn a practical, real-world approach to understanding and implementing a product management process. You’ll leave knowing how great products are created from start to finish and ready to make the hard decisions about what to build and when in your own projects.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • How a product management process can help you make strategic and resource decisions
  • How to think in terms of metrics and goals so you can perform due diligence and make sure product ideas launch successfully and meet their goals
  • Why a combination of low-fidelity wireframes and prototypes can often save massive amounts of time and money, ensuring that you don’t build things that users may not want or need

And you’ll be able to:

  • Validate ideas by gathering feedback to create a strong offering in the market with the highest chance of success
  • Use Balsamiq Mockups to quickly put together low-fidelity wireframes to help communicate ideas
  • Talk to users in your market and gain valuable feedback to help craft a product that clicks from the moment it launches
  • Prioritize what you should work on by using user stories, a minimum viable product (MVP), and a Kano analysis

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re an executive, designer, or engineer who wants to better understand the tactics and methodologies of your product team and be able to strategize using a shared vocabulary.
  • You design mobile or digital products and want to learn how to improve your product without spending a lot of time building first.
  • You’re an aspiring or junior product manager who wants to learn more about your craft and bring more formal processes to your project, startup, or company.


Recommended preparation:

Making It Right: Product Management for a Startup World (book)

(Mostly) Everything I’ve Read About Product Management in Less Than 300 Words” (article)

What Customers Want from Your Products” (article)

What Does a Great Product Manager at a Tech Startup Do Day-to-Day?” (article)

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Video Course (video) What Skills Are Needed to Be an Effective Product Manager? (video)

Recommended follow-up:

Designing Products People Love (book)

What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services (book)

The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback (book)

Using the Kano Model to Prioritize Product Development” (article)

This Is Product Management (podcast)

Additional resources:

Materials and downloads needed:

A connected computer, laptop, or other machine with Balsamiq Mockups installed (macOS and Windows only)

MRD_Template and User_Interview_Script_Sample downloaded from the course Dropbox folder

Pencil and paper for note taking and sketching

Required precourse assignment:

Complete the Creating Your First Mockup tutorial from Balsamiq Mockups

Using Balsamiq Mockups, create a screen for a fictional social networking application that displays a user’s profile. (Take inspiration from Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram or make up your own—and be sure to think through all the features and items you need to display on a general social media user profile.) You’ll share your work and compare it with other participants during the course, leading to a conversation about wireframing, user stories, and selling your ideas.

About your instructor

  • Dave is a twelve-year veteran in the product design field, having overseen development and strategy at Sony Music, MTV Networks, Disney/ABC News, Condé Nast, Bloomberg LP, StockTwits and currently at Practising Law Institute. Working across an array of media companies, Dave has developed a keen sense of how to create leading mobile and web experiences that offer strong product market fit and monetization paths. He has taught product management at New York University, Pace University and for online learning platforms.

    Dave has a BA in English from Fordham University and an MBA from Pace University.

    In his free time, he loves playing guitar, teaching and goofing around with his dog Laika.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Product market fit and the MVP (50 minutes)

  • Lecture: The tenets of product management; product market fit methodology
  • Hands-on exercise: Figure out product market fit without building anything; create a list of great ways to do product viability testing
  • Lecture: User stories, the Kano model, and how to estimate work with engineering to create a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Hands-on exercise: Break down a new product idea for a sample company into user stories; craft an MVP to test what features will be most effective

Break (10 minutes)

Idea validation: Wireframes, testing, and feedback (50 minutes)

  • Lecture: Introduction to wireframing, problem/solution mapping, and user interviews
  • Hands-on exercise: Share Balsamiq Mockup examples from precourse work
  • Lecture: The problem/solution map and value proposition; how to run user interviews and surveys; what to do with feedback and realistic results from tests

Break (10 minutes)

Defining metrics to ensure success (50 Minutes)

  • Lecture: KPIs and how metrics shape product experiments; analytics providers and how they typically work, including analytics mediators
  • Hands-on exercise: Interactive case study on how to pinpoint the best metrics to work on
  • Lecture: In-product tools to gather live feedback (Foresee and similar tools; pros and cons of the Net Promoter Score)

Wrap-up and takeaways (10 minutes)

Optional: Office hour with instructor—post-course one-on-one via Slack (30–60 minutes)