How Professional Associations Serve Innovators

by Chad McAllister

AIPMM-Professional Association for Innovators & Product ManagersHave you been part of a professional association? Several exist that innovators should know about. Professional organizations provide knowledge, an opportunity to network, a place to get answers to questions, and general guidance for career growth. They also serve the purpose of having a safe place to grumble with sympathetic people who have “been there and done that” before. I have been a member of several professional organizations and three stand out as having contributed most to my knowledge as a product manager and innovator: first the Project Management Institute, then Product Development and Management Association, and most recently, the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM). AIPMM provides value to product manager, marketing managers, and innovators. To learn more about the association, I interviewed the president, Therese Padilla.

See link for podcast interview below.

Synthesizing Knowledge for Innovators

AIPMM was founded in 1998.  The association exists to advance the profession of product management and support anybody and any organization that is involved in product management. The founders surveyed the product management literature as well as the bodies of knowledge managed by other professional organizations and created a standardized product management framework that consists of seven activities:

  • Conceive: brainstorming, generating, prioritizing, and choosing product ideas to pursue for development.
  • Plan: prepare for product development with market research, business case analysis, and project planning.
  • Develop: execute the plan to create the product, involving engineering and other appropriate resources.
  • Qualify: field (beta) test the product to gain real-world usage information and make necessary product adjustments.
  • Launch: announce and make the product available through appropriate channels.
  • Deliver: manage the product life cycle to optimize the products market performance.
  • Retire: recognize when the product should reach end of life and be replaced with a new capability.

To further synthesize practices for product managers and innovators, AIPMM sponsored creating the Product Body of Knowledge (ProdBOK). Instead of representing a single expert’s opinion, this is a guide to the product management body of knowledge written by 60 experts and edited by Greg Geracie and Steven Eppinger. The ProdBOK was addressed in more detail in a previous post titled The Guide to the Product Management and Marketing Body of Knowledge.

Knowledge Programs and Certifications

AIPMM founders recognized that successful product managers and innovators applied specific knowledge of product development practices in addition to having domain or industry knowledge. Gaining domain knowledge naturally occurs with career growth, but knowledge of product management and innovation was lacking. To help innovators develop the skill set to be successful at product management, AIPMM created a training and certification program. They have four primary programs.

  1. Certified Product Manager – emphasizes the management of the product development activities, focusing on the Conceive, Plan, Develop, and Qualify activities of the standardized product management framework.
  2. Certified Marketing Manager – focused on outbound marketing, distribution, and channel management. This highlights the Launch, Deliver, and Retire activities of the standardized product management framework.
  3. Agile Certified Product Manager – applies the practices of product management in an agile development environment.
  4. Certified Innovation Leader – prepares product managers, product marketers, and innovators to lead the creation of new products by understanding and applying ideation and innovation methodologies. It covers the very beginning of product creation (the managed front end), frequently used product innovation approaches and tools, and a product development process to manage risk. It is the most comprehensive of the certifications available and integrates aspects of product management and marketing management.

Listen to the interview with Therese Padilla on The Everyday Innovator Podcast.

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Chad McAllister, PhD is a product innovation guide, innovation management educator, and recovering engineer. He leads Product Innovation Educators, which trains product managers to create products customers love. He also hosts The Everyday Innovator weekly podcast, sharing knowledge from innovation thought leaders and practitioners. Follow him on Twitter.

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