PRODUCTHEAD: Dear Santa …
PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.
how to product completely #
Get people to buy you stuff you actually want for Christmas :-)
5 touchstone books for product managers
a favour: please share this with other product people
every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to
Even the most grinch-like among you will have to admit that Christmas (or as comedian Bill Bailey puts it, “the primary gifting period”) is approaching.
As product people, we’re always focused on figuring out what other people need (rather than pandering to what they say they want), so we’re obviously ace at buying presents for everyone else.
But when it comes to dropping hints to our nearest and dearest about what gifts we’d like to receive, they can often get lost in transmission, much like the message to the sales team that the product roadmap is a plan, not a promise.
So this week, I’m suggesting a few books I reckon every product manager needs on their bookshelf and, um, some less sensible presents to ask for this year.
Speak to you soon,
what to think about this week #
Links to Amazon are affiliate links, so I would receive a small commission on any purchases you make.
I think of these five books as touchstones. Much of what constitutes modern product management derives from ideas these authors were spreading years before you and I became product managers.
You know that whole ‘get out of the building’ discovery thing? The crazy suggestion that it might be a good idea to check out your assumptions before building your product and failing hard? Steve Blank articulated it, if not first, then early enough for his approach to be considered heresy to traditional business practices.
Back in 1988, Don Norman made the case that a user’s failure to understand how something works is not their fault, but that of the product’s design (or lack thereof). A plea to anyone building anything to remember that users don’t need any more annoyance or frustration in their lives.
The mark of this book’s success is that most modern product managers should now be able read through it for the first time and see that it broadly describes their role. When this book was originally published, that was far from being the case.
Required reading for anybody introducing a new product, maintaining a mature product, or retiring an old product. If you think the market dynamics described in this book don’t apply to what you’re doing, you’re almost certainly wrong.
If you’re in an established market with dominant market share, it’s all too easy to dismiss the startups biting at your ankles with their crazy ideas and unconventional products. They’re probably the ones who will end up stealing your lunch, customers and employees. The book that introduced the concept of disruptive innovation way before it was cool.
There is really only one question: are you Team Mario or Team Sonic?
If you’re new to product management and wondering what it’s all about, or if you’re a product manager shooting for professional success, this book will give you the inside track on starting, developing, and then selling a new product.
“Thank you for writing a business book that doesn’t make me want to open a vein after the first 4 pages.”
recent posts #
Because so much of product management is about working with people, it’s important to take time to reflect on the kind of first impression you make to those people. In this latest entry for my series of 100 things I’ve learned about product management, I share some coaching advice to help you make the best possible impression every time you start working somewhere new.
[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]
Recently people all seem to be encountering the same problem. Their engineering teams are choosing to work on projects that make them look busy, but which don’t actually move things forward. What they’re usually working on is a convoluted — and arguably doomed — attempt to replatform a legacy ‘cash cow’ product.
[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]
A recent tweet by John Cutler provoked some interesting reactions. It got me thinking about whether there are unifying principles of product management that apply in all contexts.
[I MANAGE PRODUCTS]
PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from ugly Christmas jumpers