Presentation Zen offers dozens of great ideas for making your insights and arguments resonate as you present them. Thanks for the list! You can show people a million graphs, charts and models, but it’s the stories that they’re going to remember. Almost every story I heard was about executive communication. I’m a big fan of the classics and often reread those types of books that have stood the test of time. Even after you’ve read all of these books (and a bunch of other must-reads), helped build products with a loyal following, and grow your company into a thriving enterprise, you’re still not out of the woods. What’s the thing that I can do today that really helps? The Lean Startup book. Then let it go from there. However, products that stick identify the ideal and work on what behaviors must change to turn that into reality. And no matter how brilliant your product’s strategic vision, how well you’ve thought through the details of the execution, you will have a difficult time earning the buy-in and enthusiasm of these audiences if you present it in a flat, boring or convoluted way. The 7 Best Online Photoshop Classes of 2020. In addition (or even instead of) “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, I would put in “The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth” by Chirstensen. We see a lot of companies taking subject matter experts or people from different parts of the business and throwing them into the product manager role. Marty focusses the Product Management aspect of how to create successful and great products. These three together are my collective favorite in terms of thinking through customer-centricity. Certainly a lot of great content! Meanwhile, those who follow a more meandering route tend to be happier and more successful in the end. What do leaders do? B4B – Todd Hewlin, J.B. Wood , Thomas Lah. We have offered product managers plenty of advice on this blog about how to set your priorities more strategically and how to boost your productivity. Thanks for reminding me of it! What is product management? You want to be in a learning state, in an open mindset where you don’t have a solution in mind, but rather you question. This book offers great insights into collecting the right data, what tools to use for analyzing it properly, and how to learn from the most successful and data-driven companies before setting your own analytics objectives. Why are we shipping this feature? There wasn’t a solid set of characteristics that we could [point to and] say, “Oh, you absolutely have to have this kind of genetic or experience background in order to get to this particular place.”. Steve- I agree; for me, Lean Startup is more readable than Four Steps. I tend to lean into books that help me understand how to think. The 7 Best Project Management Books. And what we’ve recognized is, Play Bigger has some really interesting insights into owning categorization. Rather, they’re positioned as development, startup, and general management reads. In Range, David Epstein illustrates why being a generalist is a compliment, not an insult, and that organizations across the board would do well to employ more of us and fewer “experts” that see the world through a narrow lens. Sorry if any of them are dups… I just received _Product Leadership_ (http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920051732.do) and it’s outstanding. Good books are good book, no matter which gender wrote them. The idea that you can own a category by creating a category is very interesting. I’ll have to look for your quote in Analytics at Work. You start thinking about what’s the one thing that will influence everything else, and that becomes your focal point. While our shortlist is designed to serve product managers, the books themselves aren’t necessarily advertised for such an audience. Start With Why – Simon Sinek (everybody read that, right?) Free also offers one of the earliest explorations of the freemium model. Let us know if you have any suggestions for additions to this list! It failed really miserably and people got really uncomfortable with experimentation. And those “one things” are questions. And if you haven read the Blue Ocean Strategy you are not allowed to call yourself a product manager 😉, 1. By going through such books in detail, it is possible to learn various techniques in handling numerous features of the products in an extensive manner. This book made me think about playing in categories in terms of where your product might fit best. It’s an uphill battle against the familiar, the routine, complacency, and inertia. David’s book is a great follow-up to that. Frustrating to see 10 books all written by men. Finding out how leaders made the transition from manager to leader — that was a very interesting conversation. It’s the follow-up to The Customer-Driven Playbook, which I also enjoy a lot. Create beautiful roadmaps in minutes. -Team of Rivals (The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln). http://amzn.to/2ma3jaE, – Getting Real by Basecamp folks – one of the best reads for PMs, developers and designers – all alike 😀 Made to Stick by Chip Heath I constantly try new things and keep abreast of many different current methods of productivity. Surely, there’s at least one good book about product management by a woman. There are lots of excellent books about product management, but these are the ones I'd consider essential to any PM’s bookshelf. You have to figure out, what’s the most important thing to do? Blue Ocean Strategy is a great one; I’m a big fan of W. Chan Kim! But the point of product management is identifying and solving pain points while delivering additional value to current and new users. While many product management books focus on product design and development, this book approaches the concept from a user experience angle to challenge you to think about product development from the customer’s point of view. It’s about the entire universe of visual communication, which is super helpful. But his way of seeing and writing is so compelling and so generous. If you think about roadmapping for product, one trap we fall into is, Here are all the things we want to build; let’s put them in a timeline. So I’d recommend it for any product manager in a large company who’s attempting this type of transformation work, or moving to this new way for product management. Don’t forget Product Management for Dummies – the definitive “How To” guide for Product Managers. And with good reason. Or, just as frustrating, other successful companies employ a culture of remaining nimble and adapting to new technologies to stay competitive — but often make the mistake of adopting the wrong new technologies and losing because of that misstep. We stated in our Do the Work! It is a great gut check for product managers. Specifically, Pressfield warns that as valuable as research is, it can also turn into a stalling way—what the book describes as “The Resistance.”. 2. As Charles said, Hooked is definitely a must read! Please share them in the comments section. Playbook is great for looking at tactical approaches and exercises that teams can do together to put that kind of customer-centricity in the practice. Product management is often framed as a visionary role, where you’re creating roadmaps and doing lots of strategic work — beginning-to-end customer-need discovery, testing the customer need and then launching something that meets the customer need and iterating from there. Lean Startup is much more readable than Four Steps. With hundreds—or maybe even one or two thousand employees—organizations… Read →, Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have built such outstanding online shopping experiences that consumers now take these experiences for granted…. You can’t get lost in them, and they don’t build up evidence, engaging anecdotes, and supporting facts to hammer home an overall thesis or philosophy—they’re simply too scant and fleeting by their very nature. It is one of the success strategies of business for a product life-cycle as it integrates data, processes and business systems. After a brief review, we will be happy to include the books. That was the big, lovely insight that we had. Psychology and behavior often take a backseat to sexy technical solutions and slick user interfaces. If you have tips for the following collection you are welcome to contact us and tell us your personal recommendations of your books for product managers. Make sure you don’t miss any future titles by signing up for our free newsletter. As a product manager, you will undoubtedly have to present your plans— particularly your product roadmap—to several different audiences. Hi Maxime! True product management is a process of innovating, continually learning, and continually adapting. 4. What’s great about Chris Anderson’s Free is that the former WIRED editor-in-chief forces us to take a long, objective look at how we’re pricing our products. The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love by Donna Lichaw People of all ages can grok it immediately. It works really well for personal prioritization of time, energy and effort, but it works exceptionally well in the bigger context as well. And we’re trying to figure out what that category looks like over this tumultuous time. Consider: “Building Insanely Great Products: Some Products Fail, Many Succeed” This is their Story”. Lencioni’s The Advantage, which is about organizational health, was another huge one for me. We include Crossing the Chasm here partly because its principles have stood the test of time. The 16 Best Product Management Books for 2020, How Sprout Social Scaled Its Product Team From 30 to 150, 10 Product Management Tools Every PM Should Know. And Lencioni is such a great writer and such a great storyteller. Marty Cagan, a longtime product executive for companies like eBay and HP, walks the reader through his hard-won insights about how to identify when you’ve got the right product and when you don’t. Product Management Resources We looked beyond the obvious choices. But perhaps the most crucial aspect of the book for our purposes is its section discussing research. As author and Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen explains in The Innovator’s Dilemma, new technologies and processes and approaches are hitting the market all the time — and some entrenched leaders lose to scrappy upstarts because they fail to adapt to these new realities. Tech exec and behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert’s book tries to get companies to kick the habit of coming up with ideas, falling in love with them, and then forcing them on the market via expensive marketing campaigns and aggressive sales tactics. Product Management Books. There’s sometimes a reluctance to expose one’s own inadequacies, so people don’t ask those questions. It shows how a lot of different companies can do roadmaps, and how to make a great roadmap. It’s about unlearning past behaviors that led to success so that you can move forward. recommendation that getting stuck in research and data-analysis mode can be a genuine pitfall for product managers. Steve Blank’s “Four Steps to the Epiphany” has largely been supplanted by Eric Reis in “Lean Startup.” Same concepts; much better execution. Thanks. Your business (no matter how successful) can never slow down and rest on its laurels. “It’s such a simple idea, but such a powerful way of framing the job,” said LeMay, who cites Escaping as one of the best product management books available. Shaun Juncal So we could have honest and sometimes-vulnerable interviews. Build Better Products: A Modern Approach to Building Successful User-Centered Products by Laura Klein, #ProMa: Product Management Tools, Methods and Some Off-the-wall Ideas by @ddiinnxx. That’s horribly flawed. It talks about this idea that a product-market’s fit isn’t even enough; you really have to think about product-market-sales fit. RelatedHow Sprout Social Scaled Its Product Team From 30 to 150. If there’s one truism about product management, you’ve got to wear a lot of hats. What he really explains in this book is that when information is poorly communicated to leaders, they’re going to search for information that’s usually too deep in the weeds. Indeed, the very idea of distillation — thoughtful prioritization, measuring outcomes rather than sheer number of product or feature builds, generally seeing the big-picture forest for all the administrative trees — emerged repeatedly in our conversation with three experts about must-read product management books. How is that different than what product managers do on a team? A company would make much of its offerings available for free on the gamble that: We’ve offered some suggestions on this blog about making smart decisions when pricing your products. Because it was originally published more than a quarter-century ago, you won’t have to worry about any of its examples or data not holding up because they are skewed in favor of some temporary trend. Experimentation is about reducing risk. The Strategic Role of Product Management How a market-driven focus leads companies to build products people want to buy 5 Product management is a well-understood role in virtually every industry except technology. Books provide a unique opportunity to spend some quality time with a subject and escape the daily rat race. My product bible: Hooked by Nir Eyal. And that doesn’t even count all the amazing podcasts, webinars, and video series out there. Rather, it was mostly a combination of learning mindsets — the ability to put aside your own ego and current knowledge and be open to learning, be coachable and also [have] relentless self-development. Read →, Change is hard. I would like to add another title to the list: Treasure Roadmap: How to turn your idea into a successful business, Well done for your topic, I appreciate it. These different experiences and settings usually make us better in future roles, even though they may seem irrelevant. True product management is a process of innovating, continually learning, and continually adapting. https://280group.com/products/books/product-management-for-dummies/. Truely very good,thanks for the better work. Product management is a key organizational process for high tech B2B companies involving more or less all parts of the company. I recommend this a lot to both leaders and product managers. Instead, companies should be identifying what customers want to do and understanding why they’re not already doing it. Hooked – Nir Eyal But there were tactical things too. But remember: We believe you can find great insight for product research in learning how the best companies use data in their hiring and advertising decisions. I hoped to give some guidance as to the types of day-to-day challenges they might encounter — especially around communication — but also a sense that, if those are the challenges they’re facing, that doesn’t mean that they’re not doing the real work of product management. Several were ranked in the top 50 business books on Amazon.com the first day they were available. It’s a bigger-picture viewpoint on product-market fit. The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen The authors explain the concept behind a roadmap, which is a communication tool, not a Gantt chart. It’s like, No, you shouldn’t just be blindly putting buttons to nowhere. I definitely leaned on some of my PM colleagues for recommendations. For the most part, we’re not as focused as we should be on understanding why problems exist, getting down to first principles. Basecamp’s tools help teams communicate and work together on projects of all shapes and sizes. You’ll learn how to work with technical teams to get your products built the right way and the basics of how to be a great product manager. Still, this book uses Basecamp’s own internal experiences to help others fix broken processes, bust down silos, and get valuable products out the door and into the hands of users. Whether it’s a topic directly related to product management or merely tangentially relevant, taking the time to wade into a book lets you soak and stew in the subject matter, connect with the author’s worldview, and come out the other side both wiser and more knowledgeable. Some of these might be a little dated now, but to start you can’t go wrong with: The 5 best Books on Product Life-Cycle Management. It includes how to get design and development to work in tandem and how to spot and address problems before becoming blockers. We like the idea of building momentum, and flywheels tend to fit very nicely into that. And you can see it in any company that starts to scale or is scaled. This new take on the adage that you shouldn’t build a solution that doesn’t address a problem posits that, by focusing on outcomes, the best products create behavior change versus supplementing existing bad or inefficient habits. That’s been an interesting perspective from an executive point of view. You can be a competent, good manager, but that doesn’t mean you’re a good leader, and vice versa. And it also explains some bad practices that you do see in companies that frustrate a lot of product managers. So it gives you insights into what leaders care about, how a strategy is set, and it can help you fill in the gaps if you don’t have a very clear strategy in your company. One word of caution: Analytics at Work explores metrics-driven learning as it relates to the whole company—in terms of how it applies to expansion, hiring, marketing, etc.—and not merely how to gather and analyze user data on your product. Enjoy! The stories are great, and so are the key-points summaries. Even when people agree, change… Read →, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper. Below you will find tips, recommendations and for free product management books. Since I have been making my massive collection self help book lists, my favorite section is probably this section focusing on the best books on productivity and time management I am constantly reading about, learning new ideas and fine-tuning my personal productivity. You could be a leader, leading the conversation in terms of domain expertise or influence, but you may not be a very good manager. Hugely important. I see this a lot with teams I coach, where people get frustrated because they feel that other people, executives in particular, aren’t grasping their ideas. I find myself going back to it over and over again and asking myself, What are the ways to think, and how should we think, versus something that’s tactical. For this reason, we recommend Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results, by Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris. Innovation Management and New Product Development by Paul Trott Now in its fourth edition, this book offers an excellent introduction to all aspects of innovation management. Written by Leon. Your business (no matter how successful) can never slow down and rest on its laurels. It might (statistically speaking), but as you’ll read throughout the great little book, many massively successful corporations have failed, and they bounced right back. Still, the book Free presents you with some pretty radical thinking about how to charge for your offerings, and how giving a lot of them away can at times be the most lucrative strategy of all. The Waterfall Method. Why are we building this feature and what business value and customer value does that actually produce? That’s written more as a traditional business book. The 12 Best Adult Coloring Books. One series of blogs that you might find helpful is Brian Sandberg’s 3-part series of product management for physical products: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/keys-successful-product-management-physical-products-brian-sandberg/. Although this is one of the best books for product managers in the technology industry, specifically, we believe its principles are broad enough to offer value to a PM in any field. Our wide range sets us apart and makes us tricky to hire. Measure What Matters by John Doerr is another favorite. For this year’s list of product management books, we dug a little deeper in our selections. Like Crossing the Chasm, we feel comfortable including this one, because it has stood the test of time. That’s a good point; do you have any suggestions of great books by female authors for PMs that we could add to our list? So it’s more on the product managers at that point for not communicating at the right level, to the right person, the information that they need to know. Mark Hurst was a little ahead of the curve with this kind of thinking, but a lot of people are now realizing that it’s not enough to just hand off a report and say, “Hey, this is what our customers want.” You have to get stakeholders in the room, experiencing the customer research as directly as possible. In real life, PM is often about practical compromises, difficult conversations, and hard-won incremental gains. It was really important for me to interview working product managers who are not product-management thought leaders — the kind of rank-and-file product managers who do this day in, day out. While quite valuable and scratching that itch for bite-sized information and opinions, they all lack the space to dive deep into a particular subject. Even though the book was published way back in technology’s Paleolithic era of 2008, its principles and insights still stand up today. The analogy I use in the book is that it’s less like an expertly played game of chess and more like a hundred simultaneous annoying games of checkers. Author Al Pittampalli offers a fresh take on office meetings. You make a good point; I’ll definitely take that into consideration in future recommendations. Thanks! Evidence shows that specializing too soon is usually a recipe for failure and burnouts, as it limits options and closes off those individuals from new possibilities when they peak. Again, not only understanding team dynamics and having concrete examples of those dynamics, but also understanding how telling the stories of those team dynamics is the first step toward understanding and addressing them. Thanks, Steve! A lot of product managers struggle with roadmaps; this is a great book for that. Like all good product managers and designers we are driven by curiosity and learning. There are many blog posts, articles, and social media threads to get lost in, covering every topic imaginable. But we also pointed out that research can be invaluable for compiling both the real-world knowledge you’ll need for your own strategic thinking about your product and the ammunition you’ll need to convince stakeholders and others that your thinking is on point. He provides a slew of different types of experiments you could do to reduce risk, and make sure that you’re actually building something that’s valuable. It also delves into why pre-work is so crucial before handing things over to the implementation team, from both a strategic perspective as well as to ensure the team understands what they’re trying to build and why. We spoke with LeMay, Perri and Richard Banfield — all authors of books about product management — to get their insights and recommendations for other books to check out. Product managers build products. Product lifecycle management or PLM books have influenced people belonging to various stages of the organization including managers. This is especially true in the context of trying new things in innovation and technology. I started interviews by asking, “What’s one story from your work that you wish somebody could have told you when you started out?”. -What Customers Want While these may or may not qualify as summer beach reads, we’ve refreshed our reading list and highly recommend these 14 books for product managers. But The ONE Thing asks this main question: What is the one thing we can do today that will make everything else easier, or even unnecessary? Check out PM Library, an online repository of books for product people. Our biggest takeaway was, so many questions we had were also the questions that everybody else had. There were a lot of books on product management from a day-to-day perspective, but I kept getting questions about how product works holistically. I think it completes the picture. Product-leaning business books: The Hard Thing about Hard Things by bhorowitz; High Growth Handbook on everything from product to strategy to … Do the Work! There are several good books about customer-centricity, but Customers Included is probably my favorite. And that’s really the goal in product, right? Books to read about product management, marketing, management and negotiating It is vital to anticipate success in business and work, regardless of what it is; but it isn’t always easy to do so. I’m looking for a product management process book to help build the product management processes within a physical B2B Industrial products market space where they currently don’t have one. You Can Learn from a Book Club at Work. Essential product management reading. I’m regularly asked for product manager book recommendations. This was one of the first business books I read as a product manager and it really changed the way I see my role. That’s why any healthy mental diet should require some books as the main course. It’s a fun and fast read at under 100 pages with great advice for staying on track through any creative undertaking, including driving a new product to a thriving market release. To overcome the increasing complexity of global competitive markets for new products it suggests solutions. But for all the moving parts and the role’s unique hybrid of the facilitative, technical and creative, the job boils down to value. That idea puts a roadmap into a completely different context. offers some fantastic strategies for these as well. Wallaert discusses the concepts of the Intervention Design Process and the research that backs this up. We believe the book’s real value will be in helping you identify The Resistance in all of its sneaky, slithery disguises, and helping you conquer it so you can keep moving forward on your product’s path. 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