PM: Got ChatGPT FOMO? Here’s the Cure.

The tech world is all abuzz about how GPT is going to change the business of technology forever. I’m pretty hype-cynical. I even wrote a book about how to make sure ideas are rigorous and testable. It’s called Hypothesis-Driven Development.

But I’m pretty sure this isn’t just hype. Just based on what GPT-4 can do on the development side of things, it’s ready to take on millions of person hours of work. Specifically, GPT-4 can now:
1. generate code from a general prompt about the human’s intention and the desired programming language
2. describe existing code with comments in ways that surprise the code’s own developer
3. debug code that’s failing
4. generate automated test cases for code
5. take working code in one programming language and translate it to another

What does this mean for PMs? There are lots of posts about all the interesting things PM’s can do with GPT. It’s a lot. Fomo is understandable.

There’s just one thing you need to do: get in the habit of using ChatGPT to do the work you have in front of you. Since it’s probably going to help you do things better but differently, you will need to reserve some extra time for learning and practice. Personally, I like to earmark around 90 minutes a week when I’m actively learning a new skill. Good practice topics are probably in a ‘Goldilocks zone’ of not super urgent and prescribed but also not vague and off the radar of what you’re doing.

With the caveat that I’m now a university professor who teaches PM’s and advises product teams, here are three examples from this week of how I incorporated ChatGPT into what I’m working on:
1. Pushing myself on alternative email copy to test with potential readers of my book
2. Pushing one of my portfolio companies to parallel prototype a new dashboard designer for its users
3. Generating unit tests for some sample code I use in my courses

On #1, generating email copy, I’ve been testing different announcements to the alumni of my online courses on Coursera to let them know about my new book, Hypothesis-Driven Development in hopes that they click through, buy it, and are forever changed by its wisdom. It turns out, relatively subtle changes in the copy have big effects on click-through rate (CTR)- 2x to 3x in several cases. So I figured why not see what GPT has to say. It did get slightly better CTR’s and, more importantly, it helped me push myself to keep diverging alternatives and come up with substantially new copy to test. You can see the specific prompts and results in Appendix 1.

On #2, I’m working with one of my portfolio companies, Jedburgh Technologies, that builds gamified language learning for the professional language learners (mostly in the US DoD). We’re working on a dashboard for the instructors to review how students are doing. For example here is one of the user stories: As Instructor Mohammad, I want to see generally which students are above, on, or below our target pace for the last seven days so I can decide where to work with the students on engagement. We’re still testing alternatives and, here too, I mostly wanted ChatGPT to nudge us on generating more distinct variations to test with users, so I asked it about comparable user interface patterns. The results were good and relevant and well articulated- you can find them in the Appendix 2.

On #3, I’m revising my online course for helping product people understand the process of going from design to code (Coding for Managers). And I wanted to try out having ChatGPT generate automated tests for some of the code (unit tests). It did pretty well and you can see the results in Appendix 3.

These were exactly the right things for me to do with ChatGPT this week not because they were particularly creative or pushed the limits of ChatGPT, etc., but because they were relevant to what I was doing right now. The only PM’s that are going to get left behind by AI are the ones who don’t learn how to use it.

What have you been using ChatGPT to do and how did it go? Please, post to the comments!

And in closing, don’t forget: always offer a polite thank you to ChatGPT after you’re done… because you just don’t know where it’s headed.

Appendix 1: Generating Alternative Email Copy for Testing

Please write two alternative emails for online learners in my agile courses from this original:

SUBJECT: HDD: Your guide to driving growth with agile (Coursera alumni exclusive)


Hi %NAME%,

As a former student of mine. I am excited to share with you my latest book, Hypothesis Driven Development (affectionately called HDD). HDD builds upon the concepts we discussed in class, and was written for real-world founders and managers of digital products like you—and it’s never been more relevant than now, with market uncertainty in tech demanding more from Product Managers who can drive growth for their businesses..

Get Your Copy Now

This book builds upon your foundational knowledge of creating products with agile. It emphasizes rigorous, continuous experimentation as a way to both minimize waste and focus your teams’ creative capabilities in directions that drive growth and innovation. You’ll also get to learn how experts from Google,, and CircleCI use agile to create healthier, more productive product pipelines.

And here’s the exclusive: Send your receipt, order confirmation, or Amazon order number to and get 40% off my upcoming book, The Economics of Code.



“There is just such a big
difference between
companies that can
make crisp decisions
with data and those that
can’t – I think everyone
should read this book”
—Casey Lichtendahl, professor at
UVA Darden and senior data scientist at Google

Option 1

SUBJECT: Boost Your Business Growth with Hypothesis Driven Development


Dear %NAME%,

I hope this email finds you doing well. As a former student of mine, I am delighted to introduce you to my latest book, Hypothesis Driven Development (HDD). HDD builds on the concepts we discussed in class and equips real-world founders and managers of digital products, like you, with practical insights to drive growth and innovation.

In today’s tech industry, where market uncertainty is demanding more from Product Managers, it’s crucial to have an agile approach to create products that drive growth. HDD emphasizes continuous experimentation and a focus on minimizing waste to achieve this goal. Additionally, the book features exclusive interviews with experts from Google,, and CircleCI, who share their experiences using agile to create healthier and more productive product pipelines.

You can get your copy of HDD now and enhance your knowledge of creating agile products. Plus, send your receipt, order confirmation, or Amazon order number to and enjoy a 40% discount on my upcoming book, The Economics of Code.

Best regards,

Alexander Cowan

Option 2

SUBJECT: Unleash Your Creative Potential and Drive Business Growth with Agile


Dear %NAME%,

I hope this message finds you well. I am thrilled to share with you my latest book, Hypothesis Driven Development (HDD), exclusively designed for alumni like you. HDD builds on the concepts we explored in class and empowers founders and managers of digital products to drive growth and innovation in today’s dynamic tech industry.

HDD focuses on the agile approach of continuous experimentation and emphasizes minimizing waste, which will help you make crisp decisions with data. With this approach, you can unleash your team’s creative potential to drive business growth. Additionally, you will learn from experts at Google,, and CircleCI, who share their insights into using agile to create healthier and more productive product pipelines.

Get your copy of HDD today and take your agile skills to the next level. And don’t forget, as a Coursera alumnus, you can enjoy a 40% discount on my upcoming book, The Economics of Code, by sending your receipt, order confirmation, or Amazon order number to

Best regards,

Alexander Cowan

Appendix 2: Creating UI Comparables

Prompt 1: What is an example of a user interface that shows activity as well as performance?

One example of a user interface that shows both activity and performance is the Task Manager in Microsoft Windows operating system.
The Task Manager displays a list of all the active processes and applications running on the system, along with their CPU and memory usage. This provides real-time feedback to the user about the performance of their computer.
The user interface also includes visual elements such as graphs and charts to show the overall system performance, including CPU usage, memory usage, and disk usage. These visual elements help the user to quickly identify any performance issues or bottlenecks that may be impacting their system.

Additionally, the Task Manager allows the user to take action on active processes and applications, such as ending a task that is not responding or starting a new process. This activity-focused functionality allows the user to manage and control their system as needed.

Overall, the Task Manager is a good example of a user interface that effectively shows both activity and performance, providing users with real-time feedback on system processes while also enabling them to take action to manage their system resources.

Prompt 2: What are good comparables for a dashboard that relates activity levels and performance?

When it comes to comparables for a dashboard that relates activity levels and performance, there are a few good examples that come to mind.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics provides a dashboard that shows website activity levels and performance metrics. The dashboard includes visual elements such as graphs and charts that display website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates. Users can see real-time data on their website’s activity levels and performance, which can help them make data-driven decisions to optimize their website.

Sales performance dashboard – Sales performance dashboards are commonly used in sales organizations to track activity levels and performance. The dashboard may include metrics such as number of leads, conversion rates, and revenue generated. Visual elements such as charts and graphs can be used to display data over time, and users can drill down into specific metrics to see more detailed information.

Social media dashboard – Social media dashboards provide real-time data on social media activity levels and performance metrics. The dashboard may include information such as number of followers, engagement rates, and social media mentions. Users can track their social media performance over time and make adjustments to their strategy as needed.

In all of these examples, the dashboard provides users with a visual representation of activity levels and performance metrics. This allows users to quickly and easily identify trends and patterns in the data, which can help them make informed decisions to optimize their activity and improve their performance.

Appendix 3: Generating Unit Test with Jasmine

Note: does not work ‘out of the box’ but is pretty close

please generate unit tests for this code using JS Jasmine framework:

(including the code I pasted as embed snippet for clarity)

These tests assume that the HTML elements needed for testing are not already present on the page, and they create them dynamically using Jasmine’s beforeEach() hook. The tests check that the filterParts() function correctly hides/shows the parts based on the selected filter values.

Note: showing code in JS Fiddle for clarity