I’m working with several others to improve the experience of Associate Product Managers in government and wanted to see what we could learn from outside government. Lots of organisations have Associate Product Manager prgorams and I found a list of them at the Product Managment Insider in a post called The 15 Best Associate and Rotational Product Manager Programs by Suhas Motwani. The design of these programs was extremely similar so I’ve created an Associate Product Manager Program Blueprint based on the common features of some of the based programs out there. Hope it’s of use!

Label: Associate Product Manager Program

Goal: To develop future product leaders, often ‘from scratch’, using ‘rotations’, mentoring, and a strong community to accelerate development

Duration: 12-24 months

Format: Cohorts of APMs (ranging in size from 4-5, to 40-50) undertaking 2-4 ‘rotational’ placements

Candidate characteristics: University graduate (possibly from subjects like computer science, business, or psychology) and existing professionals with expertise in a relevant field.

Core features and benefits of program:

  • Rotational, with 2-4 rotations during the program that are agreed between the APM and their main point of contact for the program
  • Mentoring, from multiple perspectives, for example (1) an alumni advisor, who is a seasoned PM who used to be in the APM program; (2) a buddy, who was an APM a year ahead; (3) one-on-one sessions with a management coach
  • Trips or bootcamps, for example 1) 5-10 day APM trip/bootcamp, possibly across several locations) to learn about successful products, or technologyies in different markets, understanding local users 2) Mini-trips/bootcamps: single day/single location to learn more about a single user-type or industry of interest
  • Planned activities like books clubs, tech conferences, social events
  • The APM community itself should be one of the main benefits for many APMs if the program is successful., providing a network of contacts for support and opportunities through their careers.

End result: Associate Product Managers ‘graduate’ to full Product Manager if they successfully complete the program.