VP of Product Management and Strategy

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - Boston, Massachusetts - Full time

The VP, Product Management and Strategy role leads as the strategist, P&L manager, and spokesperson for all grade 6-12 core solutions. The VP, PM&S drives full lifecycle strategy, implementation, and market success of the grades 6-12 product portfolio, including product creation, product roadmap, pricing and offerings, overall business case and, go-to-market strategy.

This position defines requirements for Core Solutions product development and coordinates with product management teams in other lines of business, Sales, Finance, the Revenue Operations, Global Supply, Marketing, and other internal groups to drive customer success and achieve business goals. The VP role reports to the EVP General Manager of Core Solutions to coordinate closely on all decisions, actions, and development plans that impact the grades 6-12 product portfolio. This role manages a set of highly experienced Product Managers to provide clear leadership and unified direction and digital first, connected strategy across all HMH disciplines.

Primary Responsibilities

Market Strategy:

  • Discover problems in the market by interviewing customers, recent evaluators and untapped, potential customers. Validate urgent problems to show their pervasiveness in the market using lean-agile methodologies.
  • Evaluate product-market fit for the portfolio on an ongoing basis, using data-driven analysis to conduct win/loss analysis and understand the buying process
  • Articulate and leverage the organization’s unique abilities to deliver value to the market.
  • Identify competitive and alternative offerings in the market and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop a strategy for winning against the competition.
  • Inventory HMH assets (technical, skills, services, patents, other) and determine ways that they can be leveraged.

Focus Strategy:

  • Map needs with target markets and analyze the market segments to actively pursue.
  • Ensure that the targeted segments are large enough to support the current and future business of the product.
  • Determine which channels best align with your markets’ buying preferences.
  • Integrate products into a coherent portfolio of products focused on the market. Manage the portfolio like a “product” (business plan, positioning, buying process, market requirements and marketing plan).
  • Illustrate the vision and key phases of deliverables for the product through the product roadmap is a plan.

Business Strategy:

  • Perform objective analysis of potential market opportunities to provide a basis for investment, articulating market learnings and quantifying the risk, including a financial model.
  • Establish a pricing model, schedules, guidelines and procedures.
  • Determine the most effective way to deliver a complete solution to an identified market problem. Where you have gaps in your offering, analyze whether to buy, build or partner to complete the solution for your market.
  • Monitor and analyze key performance indicators to determine how well the product is performing in the market, how it impacts the company operations, and ultimately, how it contributes to profit.
  • Focus your teams’ creative spirit on solving market problems by leveraging your organization’s distinctive competencies.


  • Position the product by its ability to solve market problems.
  • Create internal positioning documents that will be used to develop external messages focused on each key buyer or persona.
  • Define the archetypical users of your products or services through user personas.
  • Articulate and prioritize personas and their problems through requirements so that the appropriate products can be built.
  • Build an effective relationship and team between PM&S and development
  • Serve as a checkpoint along the way to provide context and clarification to development
  • Illustrate market problems in a “story” that puts the problem in context. Use scenarios are one component of requirements.
  • Manage proactive communications with relevant stakeholders from strategy through execution.

Launch and Support

  • Plan, execute and measure effectiveness of strategic launches.
  • Provide needed market and solution information to support the operations group.

Communication & Supervision:

  • Maintain strong, ongoing channels of communication with sales force, Marketing, Learning Architecture teams, and other internal departments
  • Lead cross-functional teams to execute processes and plans
  • Lead team of up to 10. Review and assess staff through key evaluation points per year


  • Bachelor's Degree
  • At least 10 years of experience in K12 educational technology with managerial experience
  • Experience in an entrepreneurial or start-up environment
  • Experience using lean-agile and design thinking methodologies to develop and launch products
  • Demonstrated strong leadership skills
  • Superior verbal and written communication skills; superior presentation skills
  • Superior inter-personal skills with all levels including executive management
  • Demonstrated conceptual & analytical thinking; vision; leadership & management; prioritization; collaboration; decision-making; negotiation; problem-solving; tactical execution; product & market knowledge.

Preferred Education:

MBA or Masters --preferably in the content area or in business management or marketing

Pragmatic Marketing Framework certification desired

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C Level Executive Leadership

Experience Level

Senior Level

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape.

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