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Software Development and Product Management


Admission requirements

Not applicable


ICT developments face increasing complexity. Technological challenges, combined with managerial and organisational issues, cause failure to a vast number of software development initiatives. The past decades, the earlier mentioned complexity has dominantly managed by the application of project management methods and techniques. In recent years, the attention is shifting to product management philosophies/frameworks like Agile/Scrum.
The lecture-based part of this course focuses on the management of the software product development process, including the systems development life cycle and alternative approaches to software development techniques like project management and Scrum and their critical success factors. Overarching concepts like quality management, scheduling, budgeting, risk management, and the management of user expectations and involvement are discussed as well.
The practical part of the course, provides an opportunity to experience and apply the issues and techniques discussed in the course.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will have a firm grasp of software product management and -development concepts, approaches and techniques.
In addition, the students will get some insight into the essentials of starting up a software development initiative and the fundamental principles of being successful in the ICT business.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University student website

Detailed table of contents can be found in Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

The course is structured around two building blocks:
1. Twelve theory sessions, including in-class reading and case study assignments
2. An assignment which is aimed at creating a software product development plan, to be carried out in pre-assigned groups of about 6 students.

Assessment method

A) Written exam
It will be based on materials covered during class and assigned readings or handouts. It is a closed book, closed notes exam.
Depending on the Covid-19 regulations, the written exam can be replaced by an individual assignment.

B) Group assignment
Your assignment is to create a Product Development Plan (PDP).
The PDP needs to cover the following topics:
1. Product proposition
2. Product development and implementation strategy.
3. Test and implementation plan tuned to your method as described under (2

Your total grade for this course will be based on the following:

  • 60% written exam with open and multiple-choice questions [individual].

  • 30% product development plan [group]

  • 10% final project/product presentation [group]
    To pass the course:

  1. The grade of the written exam has to be at least 5.5
  2. The PDP-assignment and the final presentation must be graded with 5.0 or higher.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.


Not yet available

Reading list

Title: Software Product Management
Authors: Hans-Bernd Kittlaus, Samuel A. Fricker
ISBN: 978-3-642-55139-0

Title: Some of the Better Practices of Project Management
Author: John Hermarij
ISBN: 9789491009006
The syllabus can be ordered at

The purchase and use of both the book and the syllabus are mandatory.

Signing up for classes and exams

You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator

Contact information

Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo


Also register for every course in Brightspace. Important information about the course is posted here.