Successful executions are the result of good design. In a software context, that means understanding what problem you’re solving, for who, and then driving productive, test-driven collaborations with a technical team. The skills to do this are relevant for both the entrepreneurs and managers within established companies. Your next software project might be a finished product for the end user (e.g., an iPhone app) or it might be an internal system like Salesforce, Oracle, etc.


This course does not require any prior experience or knowledge of software. You’ll learn how to take the general management skills you’ve acquired and apply them in the context of software and digital innovation. Special attention will be paid to creating 

(1) vivid, actionable descriptions of the customer/user 

(2) disciplined processes to manage through uncertainty to validated, commercially relevant results

(3) actionable framing of key technology questions. 

In a more general sense, the course will provide a framework for managing innovation in an uncertain environment—“when you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Academic Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to:
- Use and instruct others in product design fundamentals: personas, problem scenarios, propositions, prototypes/MVP's and usability test plans.

- Anchor the above in best practice agile user stories for interdisciplinary discussions & collaborations


- Organize around in manage iterative vs. plan-driven methods, using lean and the scientific method to manage your team through learning and uncertainty with rigor and stability.

- Frame functional requirements to drive key decisions on technology selection


- Design and run tests on both customer motivation and product usability

- Understand concepts of application architecture and development so as to engage constructively with what’s important and recognize what should be left to the discretion of technical specialists.


Elements of the Course Grade

Attendance & Participation: 30%
Venture Design- Team Project: 50%
Completion of Assignments & Related Analysis: 20%