Have you heard about the International Software Product Management Association? Until today, we haven’t. Judging by their website, it’s a new organisation that is “an open non-profit association of experts, companies, and research institutes with the goal to foster software product management excellence across industries. ISPMA establishes software product management as a discipline in both academia and industry, and disseminates and maintains a Curriculum and a Certifiable Body of Knowledge (SPMBOK).”
ISPMA membership is free. Once you have joined, you will get access to a member’s area including blogs and a certified members list (registered members who have obtained one or more ISPMA certificates). It appears that most of the certified members live in Europe, with some based in Asia and the US. Unfortunately there is no mechanisms to connect with any member directly (even via their LinkedIn profile).
The need for organisations like ISPMA is obvious. If you search for “product manager” on LinkedIn, you will get more than 1.8 million (!) search results, with more than 10 thousand in New Zealand. The two best known professional associations for product managers are the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) and the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA).
AIPMM was founded in 1998 and has approximately 8,000 members in 75 countries according to their own site and Wikipedia. They have a Product Body of Knowledge (ProdBOK) that includes the “AIPMM Seven Phase Product Lifecycle Framework is a vendor independent Product Management and Product Marketing standard that takes into account best practices used in a wide range of companies and industries”.
AIPMM offers individual (from US $125) and team (from US $1,250) membership options. There are four AIPMM certification options:
- Certified Product Manager
- Certified Product Marketing Manager
- Certified Innovation Leader
- Agile Certified Product Manager
PDMA was founded earlier than AIPMM – in 1976 – but has fewer members: 3,000 members in more than 50 countries, mostly in the US. To join, you first need to identify if you are based in the US / Canada or another part of the world. If you are not from the North America, you can be associated with one of PDMA’s 16 International Affiliates including New Zealand. You can join as a team or individual (student, professional, academic).
PDMA offers a Product Development Professional (NPDP) Certification. Other member benefits include the annual conference, various publications, career development advice and resources.
According to a PDMA Executive Director Brad Barbera, “PDMA is all about discovering, developing, and delivering new goods and services to the marketplace. We cover a subset of the full range of activities that a product manager would face, as we do not necessarily get into managing the full life-cycle of a product. We focus on the creation of new products, from the “fuzzy front end” where ideas are born, through the development of solutions to customer problems, to the full implementation of those solutions int he sales and distribution process. We focus on six particular areas of expertise, backed by rigorous and objective academic research: Teams/People/Organization