2021 Knowledge ∞ Continuum

March 05, 2021

The 2021 Knowledge Continuum is being offered as a yearlong executive education engagement by the Center for the Management of IT (CMIT).  The 2021 cohort was limited to 50 participants (Patrons) to facilitate an interactive format and ample networking opportunities. Four quarterly events include a conversation with a featured expert or author moderated by McIntire IT faculty, followed by breakout group discussions to debrief and network. The final event, anticipated for fall 2021, will be held on UVA’s Grounds and include a reception to celebrate CMIT’s 30th anniversary. Throughout the year, we will update this recap with details on each quarterly program, including a few key takeaways from the speaker and session.

If you are interested in joining the 2022 Knowledge Continuum, or just want to be added to our mailing list to be informed about future CMIT events and opportunities, please send an email to amandamorris@virginia.edu.

March 5, 2021: Digital Product Management

Marty Cagan, Founding Partner of Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG) and author of EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

  • Check out Marty’s blog post about “Product vs. Feature Teams,” in which he argues that empowered product teams are focused on and measured by outcomes and their purpose is to solve problems in ways the customer loves, yet work for the business. Feature teams are all about outputs and are there to serve the business.
  • Empowered product teams are a key element of many of the world’s most successful companies, including Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Spotify, CarMax, Guardian, and Atlassian.
  • Transformation be led from the top. What convinces CEOs to embrace empowered product teams? The profit motive is a primary driver, but fear can also be a powerful motivator. Scare companies by asking them to imagine that Amazon is coming to “clean your clock”; tech disruption is everywhere (don’t be Circuit City).
  • Transforming to the empowered product team model impacts far more than just the product team. Companies stop funding projects and start funding product teams in pursuit of outcomes. Empowered product teams don’t care about launching a new feature; they care about increasing profits, reducing retention issues, and other corporate milestones.
  • The role of IT needs to shift from cost center to revenue center, from serving the business to serving customers.
  • Three steps toward change:
    1. Hire skilled product leaders (or coach).
    2. Build real product teams (product manager, designer, engineer).
    3. PM leaders need to reintroduce product teams to the organization and move from subservient to a collaborative model.
  • Product vision is the “North Star” for product-driven organizations: It identifies the common goal, the future you’re trying to create, and how you will improve the lives of your customers. This vision should be focused on 3-10 years out.
  • Visiontypes of the future you’re trying to create need to be created: These are high-fidelity user prototypes (e.g., videos or storyboards) and can be used as a recruiting tool and an evangelism tool.
  • How to become a product manager?
    1. Go to work for a leading tech product company for 1-2 years.
    2. Associate PM programs are one- to two-year coaching programs.
  • Speed is essential to innovation. Innovation is a function of the number of “at bats,” or attempts. “You want to fail in discovery, not fail in delivery.”

May 7, 2021: Digital Transformation, Component-Based Architecture, Organizational Agility, and IT Leadership

Shamim Mohammad, Chief Information and Technology Officer, CarMax





Remaining programs TBA