Scala CEO Product Management Programme

Scala CEO Product Management Programme
Start Date3rd September 2014
Course CodeSS878
VenueRadisson Blu Hotel and company premises
Full Fee
Duration3 days over 2 months
ProviderIntegrated Thinking
Network Member Subsidised Fee€1,995.00
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Programme Overview

Closing date for applications 8th August 2014

The SCALA programme is targeted to the specific needs of twelve CEOs initially – supporting them to drive strategic value through the effective application of a repeatable and scalable product-oriented strategy.

This programme will help CEOs to explore the key benefits that a product management discipline can bring to their organization. 

It will be delivered by international experts and peers with direct experience of improving strategic value and will provide guidance and methodologies to:

  • Position your company for growth, future investment or value realisation
  • Help you to embed product management practices tailored to your stage of development
  • Help you to align key stakeholders to deliver your growth strategy
  • Enable you to measure the return on any investment in product management through metrics and benchmarks

“Understanding the link between creating value through operational excellence and capturing that value through new investment or trade sale/IPO is crucial to your success. This programme will give you practical guidance to help you focus on what it takes to be a product-oriented business and drive strategic value” Brian Caulfield, Entrepreneur & Venture Capitalist, Partner DFJEsprit

In 2013, the Irish Software Association (ISA) in partnership with the ISA Software Skillnet, conducted research to ascertain the views and experiences, of member company CEO’s, of Product Management. This study focussed on a number of rapidly growing software companies and was supported by Enterprise Ireland and their client companies.

From this research we ascertained that Irish technology companies would benefit from additional support in some key areas:

o Understanding the benefits product management can bring to scaling companies
o Understanding the return  on investment from incorporating a product management function
o Implementing the organizational changes necessary to adopt a product-oriented approach
o Mentoring and supporting those responsible for delivering an effective product management discipline that matches the companies stage of growth.

ISA, and its training network (the ISA Software Skillnet), have a long standing history of developing strategic leadership programmes specifically for CEO's & Founders of indigenous software companies.

This programme is lead by a broadly based international team of industry experts and entrepreneurs: 

David Farquhar, in his capacity as angel investor, CEO and board member – he will share years of experience on how achieving operational excellence through the application of product management principles helped in delivering shareholder value across many companies in the ICT sector (in some cases bringing these companies to trade sale).
John Chapman, who will bring the perspective of the VC and will discuss how command of product management can help win investor interest and, over time, position a company for a high value trade sale.

Siobhan Maughan, who has over 20 year’s experience in the technology sector and was instrumental in the establishment of a strong product management discipline in Openet, the largest indigenous software company in Ireland.  She will share the challenges she faced both politically and organizationally. 

Grace O'Donnell, who has over 20 years experience in technology and business was instrumental in Information Mosaic's growth from a single client to its global reach today. As an industry practictioner Grace will bring the experience of building a product management discipline while scaling the business with a clear focus on balancing short term revenue with long term profitability.
Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes
  • Learn how the application of a strong and effective product management discipline can benefit business and drive shareholder value
  • Understand how to adopt a customer-centric approach to product strategy
  • Achieve leadership alignment around strategic objectives
  • Adopt an incremental and targeted approach to reviewing or applying the product management discipline in your company
  • Understand the benefit of adopting a “strategic” rather than “tactical” approach to product investment decisions
Who should attend
This programme is open to CEOs/Founders of companies who have been established for 3 years or more and who are looking to scale beyond the €1m to 5m revenue bracket. It applies to companies who are looking to establish a product management discipline for the first time or who have established the function but want to understand how to make it more effective.
Course Content

The programme comprises of a number of steps to provide each CEO with group input and individual support.

Stage 1: Pre-Workshop Diagnostic 

Stage 2: CEO 2 Day Workshop (Radisson Blu Hotel)

Stage 3: In-Company Mentoring (on compamy site)

Stage 4: Individual company report 

Stage 5: Closing Workshop (Radisson Blu Hotel)

Stage 1: Pre-Workshop Diagnostic

Before taking the 2 day workshop each CEO (and their leadership team) will be asked to complete a pre-workshop corporate diagnostic. This diagnostic will capture their input on range of topics such as:

  • Corporate Culture – mission, vision, cross team communication, what they are selling, how they are perceived in the industry, approach to innovation, etc.

  • Organization Structure – cohesion across the groups, whether product management exists and if so who they report to

  • Product Strategy – products and solutions the company supports, product value proposition, capturing requirements, communicating customer requirements to engineering, prioritizing engineering development effort, etc.

  • Marketing/Sales – win/loss analysis, competitive analysis, marketing messaging, etc.

A report will be drawn up to show where each company is in their evolution to a product management discipline.

Stage 2: CEO 2 Day Workshop

Workshop Outline

This two-day workshop will help participants understand how the application of a strong and effective product management discipline can benefit their business and drive shareholder value.

Product Management is a multi-faceted discipline that touches on so many areas of core business. It can benefit both large organizations and SMEs.

Whether CEOs want to scale through revenue growth, position the company for further investment or raise buyer awareness they need to adopt a product-oriented approach.

A key part of becoming a product-oriented company is the empowerment of the right resources to deliver on your goal and vision – and the gravitational force that pulls it all together is Product Management.


David Farquhar, John Chapman and Siobhan Maughan


Summary Day 1

We understand that CEOs have limited time to attend training or workshops. This workshop will be very interactive and hands-on, where the participants will hear industry practitioners illustrate how the effective application of product management can positively impact the “bottom line” and drive shareholder value.

After day-one participants will leave with an understanding of:

  • The strategic importance of applying a strong product management discipline in their organization – how does it create value in a technology company?

  • The benefits of product management led investments - why is it important to understand your value proposition, talk to your customers, understand your market size, etc.?

  • The difference between market vs. engineering vs. sales led companies

  • How product management impacts other parts of the organization? How you successfully integrate the function into your existing organization?

  • Corporate vs. Product Strategy – Most companies have too many projects and too few resources – this section will discuss how participants will link resource investment decisions back to a clear corporate and/or product strategy

  • The core responsibilities of Product Management vs. Product Marketing

  • What it takes to be a good product manager – what are the key considerations in organizing the function and recruiting for the role?

  • The role of Product Management in a services company - how companies begin to make the transition to a more product-oriented approach?

  • The difference between “value creation” and “value capture"

  • Provide specific examples (from the experience of the industry practitioners) where an established product management discipline has positively impacted the strategic value of a company. Will use case studies as supportive material.

  • Discuss what “best practices” companies need to adopt for “exit readiness” and how that might impact product management’s approach to product and solution strategy.


Grace O’Donnell and Siobhan Maughan

Summary Day 2

During Day 2 we will explore practical implementation steps for CEO’s and draw on the experience of other CEO’s and industry practitioners. This module is designed to enable CEO’s revisit their corporate vision and objectives and understand the role product management has in delivering on those goals. It also examines the link between product management and revenue growth.  This day is a valuable opportunity for the CEO to revisit and reflect on the growth strategy for their own organization and to understand how this strategy should feed the objectives and KPIs for all those in the organization.

The module will be run in workshop format using hands-on exercises, group discussions, case studies and lateral thinking techniques with a guest speaker sharing their experience on product management implementation.

Day 2 will form a practical hands-on workshop with detailed participation from each CEO who will examine their company under three structures:- Analyse, Visualise and Route to success.  


  • Review components of Product management and how they map to CEOs business today

  • Executing growth strategy – communication, roll-out, resourcing, measurement

  • Drivers for revenue growth – Short term / long-term view

  • Culture of organisation - Sales, market or engineering driven


  • Product Management map for future - roles and responsibilities

  • Growth accelerators and inhibitors

  • Alignment of product strategy & growth strategy

  • Product Innovation – the way forward

Route to Success:
  • Prioritise product management functions that are relevant to business stage

  • Define focus & associated metrics

  • Cross functional interaction and oversight / commitment of CEO

  • Continuous assessment, feedback and measurement

Stage 3:  In-Company Mentoring

The purpose of the in-company mentoring is to help CEOs to align their company’s leadership team stakeholders - identifying next steps to creating an effective product management discipline in their organization. The mentoring will be provided as two separate ½ day in-company sessions.


In many companies there are conflicting views as to what Product Management is and this workshop will help to align the key stakeholders. The mentor will lead an interactive workshop with the leadership team with the aim of understanding:

  • The current culture of their organization – sales vs. marketing vs. engineering led? Services vs. Product, etc.

  • The key gaps in their organizational structure especially gaps that relate to the establishment of product management

  • Who does what today and identifying the changes necessary if an effective product management discipline is established


The mentor will present the key aspects of a strong product management discipline to the leadership team and gain alignment across the whole organization on next steps.

Stage 4: Individual Company report

The course leaders will porepare an individual company report (based on leadership input) outlining a set of next steps, recommendations and actions.

Stage 5: Closing Workshop

The participants of the workshop will get together for a ½ day closing workshop. In this a number of CEOs will present on their key learnings from the workshop and discuss the next steps they are taking to progress to the next stage.



Other course details

David Farquhar

David is a transaction-oriented serial entrepreneur with a track record of delivering shareholder value in the ICT sector through international growth. 

David has more than 20 years’ global enterprise software experience and has held CEO positions in 6 companies which have ranged in size from mid-market to start-up and has built highly successful international management teams across the world. He has also been Executive Chairman and Non-Executive Director on more than 10 boards.

David has significant experience of seed, angel and venture capital fund-raising and has been involved in numerous company sales and MBOs.

An original thinker, an award-winning leader and an agent for change focused on the achievement of corporate success as part of a senior management team.

John Chapman

John Chapman has been an active investor in European technology businesses since 2000 and focuses principally, but not exclusively, on software and web-based business models. Over this period he has worked with and backed a number of successful entrepreneurs, including the founders of TravelTainment AG, Quintiq Holding NV, HoundDog Technologies Ltd., OpenJaw Technologies Ltd. and iTAC Software AG.

Prior to joining PONTIS Capital, John spent 7 years as a General Partner with TVM Capital, a trans-Atlantic venture fund with more than €1 billion under management. John played key roles in 11 TVM Capital investments. At home in the Munich area, John is a US citizen with 22 years of business experience in Europe and an accomplished technology investor.

He is a Managing Partner of PONTIS Capital with specific areas of focus that include deal making, definition of growth strategies, building of management teams, acquisitions and trade sales. He has 14 years of early and growth stage technology investing in Europe and 13 years of M&A deal making experience with global banks such as Citicorp, Bankers Trust and Paribas. 

Siobhan Maughan

Siobhan is the founder of IntegratedThinking and has over 20 years experience in the software industry. As Vice President of Product Management at Openet, Siobhan was responsible for the entire portfolio of Openet's products.

She was directly responsible for building a team to manage product strategic direction reflecting both external market needs and Openet’s corporate strategy. Siobhan has clearly demonstrated the ability and focus to drive and manage significant organizational change within a large, distributed software company and was key to the evolution of Product Management within Openet.

Siobhan proviously chaired the Irish Software Association's Product Management Working Group - established to promote the development of the product management discipline within the indigenous software industry in Ireland.

As founder of IntegratedThinking she provides mentorship and guidance to C-level stakeholders on the organization changes needed to drive an effective product management discipline. She is also an approved consultant with Enterprise Ireland and has provided mentorship and guidance to C-level executives in the area of product management.

Grace O'Donnell

Grace O’Donnell is a business leader, with a software background, focused on enhancing business expertise across management disciplines through practical experience. 

Grace has over 20 years’ experience in business, primarily financial services. As director and founder of SolveZ Consulting Grace provides practical hands on experience to companies in 4 core areas: strategy validation and implementation; establishing a product base; sales management, sales process implementation and overseas market expansion. 

Prior to establishing SolveZ Consulting Grace held the role of Deputy CEO with Information Mosaic. During her 13 years with Information Mosaic Grace developed the client base, implemented the sales process, led the expansion into overseas market and mentored and led the product management group. Grace collaborated on the New Frontiers programme for start-up companies providing sales process training to a number of the groups.

Grace was a member of the ISA executive council and led the talent for growth working group.