Product Growth Leaders began with a simple idea. Build a network of product professionals to help guide product teams to successful outcomes.


This group has grown from the product management roots of co-Founder Steve Johnson. In the early 1990s, the trained programmer-turned-sales engineer reluctantly found himself playing the role of Product Manager. A change that would end-up impacting the product management profession more than anyone could have imagined.


In 1996, Steve became the first instructor hired at Pragmatic Marketing. For the next 15+ years, Steve led the evolution of Pragmatic Marketing's market-leading product management training courses while training 1000s of product teams, and creating a following of product leaders, professionals, and coaches.


Through all of the success at Pragmatic Marketing, Steve kept thinking there could be a better, simpler, way to do product management. In 2012 he left Pragmatic to create a framework for product management based on the belief that minimal process and simple templates result in a nimble product organization. This work would go on to be the foundation for the Quartz Open Framework, the only open-source product management framework.


In 2019, while advising Pragmatic Marketing in the modernization of their courses, Steve realized that product management training was ripe for disruption. Lecture-based training simply doesn’t do the job. It didn’t provide the hands-on application needed. It didn’t deliver the return on investment companies are looking for. Even when attendees enjoyed the experience, the learning did not transform into the development or strengthening of core product management capabilities. There had to be a better way.


In 2020, Steve partnered with Grant Hunter, also a former Pragmatic Marketing Instructor and industry thought-leader, to redefine product management professional development and created the concept of Applied Professional Development.


Shifting from lectures to interactive workshops. Flipping the classroom to focus on application, where capabilities are learned by doing, focused on real products and services. Enabling the ongoing development and growth of these capabilities through coaching and workshops. Creating a trusted community of peers to support future leaders in their growth.

This is Product Growth Leaders.