Technology Decisions: Part One, Basics

Monday, November 19, 2018
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM 
Hawes 203

Guest instructor: Sam Clemens, Partner, Accomplice VC

In this session we will review technology fundamentals and considerations for planning your product development. This is part one of a two-part topic; the second one being hiring developers based on your technology decisions and product requirements. We will cover more on that topic in the Nov 26 session.

Required Reading

  1. 10 Tech Terms Even Non-Geeks Should Know - Benjy Weinberger

  2. Top Five Technical Skills Every PM Should Know - Colin Lernell

  3. Getting to technical enough as a product manager - Lulu Cheng

  4. Cloud Computing Introduction - Chris Woodford

  5. Native vs. Web vs. Hybrid Apps, What’s the Difference? - Gigvy

 

Recommended Reading

  1. Resources for learning CS Basics Online - Mike Goes Coding

  2. Industry icon, Joel On Software, has a great reading list you should bookmark as a founder/PM.

  3. The Mythical Man Month is a classic read for anyone in the tech industry. While somewhat dated, it is great historical context.

Minor Deliverables:

Recognizing the time necessary to complete the following team assignments, we are giving you almost two full weeks to complete them all. The first two are subsets of your PRD. The final one is for an in-class exercise on Nov 26. Post a link to each of these minor deliverables in the Assignment Master tab “Nov 23 - T&H Plan” by 5:00pm Friday, November 23.

  1. Technology Plan: Write a one-pager describing the technology decisions you’re making as you begin to consider product implementation. These could include areas like the importance of application performance and reliability for your product, privacy and security, and/or the perceived technical complexity of your near and long-term solution (e.g. does it use machine learning?). This could result in decisions around deployment (e.g. in the cloud), platform (web / native mobile), database / storage, etc. Technical decisions are inevitable and if they aren’t considered and deliberate may cause problems for you down the road. Conversely, more strategic or well-considered technical decisions can help drive near and long-term product success. This is a first draft of the Information and Software Architecture  section of your PRD.

  2. Engineering Cost Plan: Using this sample Engineering Costs template from the Trellis team (‘17) as a reference, begin to estimate the cost of building your app. This is a first draft of the product build expense item in the Projected Cost section of your PRD.

  3. Job Description: Whether you are starting your own company or working as a PM, you will likely be involved with the developer hiring process. Write a developer Job Description (JD) for your project. For those continuing on with us in PM102, this is a first draft of the JD you will use to hire a developer in the spring. We will select 2-3 JDs for critique in the Nov 26 session.

Session Prep:

  1. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, we do not have a lab on the 21st. Therefore, we will have 2-3 team critiques in this session. Selected teams will be notified by Friday, Nov 16 at 5pm. These will be “open crits” where teams can ask for one piece of feedback of their choice.

  2. Bring any questions your team has for Julia, Christina and/or Sam about tech decisions or cost estimation for your product.

Julia Austin, Senior Lecturer

Harvard Business School

Rock Center 115