The list author says: "Over the last 20+ years of working in software and technology firms, I've read dozens of books on product management, marketing, & innovation strategy. Here's my go-to list of books that cover key topics in the realm of defining & delivering great products. Admittedly there's a software-leaning bias here, but what business today doesn't employ technology?"
"One of my all-time favorites, I consider this a must-read for anyone working to build technology products. Ever wonder why many people find even "simple" clock radios hard to operate? (Hint: the problem isn't the consumers.)"
"There's a reason this book is a classic: its thesis has held up remarkably well for two decades. If you're at all involved in technology development or marketing, you're expected to be familiar with Moore's thesis."
"I approach books authored by consultants with skepticism, since often the book is just a thinly-veiled sales pitch. In contrast, this is an insightful & crisply written manifesto about applying a user-centered design focus to product and service creation. Highly recommended."
"If it's your job to define & prioritize product features, read this book. Now! It offers a bridge from "how to capture customer needs" to "which requirements are the most important?" A thoughtful, real-world-based dissertation on how to move from "customer focused" to a far more actionable "outcome focused" innovation process."
"Tom Kelley (along with his brother David) is one of the deans of American design. Long before "innovation" became a business buzzword, their firm IDEO was helping clients bring remarkable new products to market - think Apple mouse, Palm V, Steelcase Leap Chair, to name a few out of hundreds. Kelley's book is part autobiography, part tutorial, and always inspiring."
"If you're working in the Web space - and what company isn't, to some degree? - this is another must-read. Krug's book is evidence that "common sense isn't so common." It's one of the clearest expositions about what makes Web interfaces usable. Every page has great examples and tips, and every time you read one you'll say, "Of course!""
"Christensen is the Harvard B-school prof whose book "The Innovator's Dilemma" became an instant classic. That's a great read; but if you're short on time, jump to this 3rd book in the series to get a quick recap of the Dilemma, plus a strategies for getting beyond it."
"If you hope to market products successfully, I think it's important to understand the "tipping point" phenomenon and how it influences social behavior. Read this book first, if you haven't already. If you're interested, follow up with "Unleashing the IdeaVirus" for marketing applications, and/or "How Hits Happen" for deeper background info."
"If you're not already familiar with Agile tenets, then run-don't-walk to read The Agile Manifesto! Then, start learning from actual practitioners. There are numerous good treatments of Agile and Scrum, so it's hard to go too far wrong, but Mike Cohn combines a world of experience with an easily readable style."
"It would seem self evident that no company can be the best at everything (product development, marketing, customer service, distribution). But how many companies actually pursue clear strategies for dominating on one or two differentiators? One of those flash-of-the-blindingly-obvious books I wish I'd written."
"OK, I'll confess: I'm a big fan of Seth Godin, even if not everything he writes is inspired. I think this is one his best and least-appreciated books. Whether or not you embrace Godin's specific recommendations, understanding & applying these principles can make you a far more effective marketer."
"If you're involved in Internet commerce, this is a valuable text. Anderson (editor of Wired) discusses how the shift from atoms to bits allows the "true nature of demand" to appear. Yes, having a "hit" product is alwqays a great thing. But Amazon also sells some copies of the 250,000th best seller. And the 300,000th, and the 500,000th... detect a trend?"
"It's strange that, while most products are supposedly designed for people, the people are often left out of the development process. Personas are perhaps the best solution to that shortcoming, and this exhaustive treatise will cover everything you could need to know about bringing them into your product design."
"I think a good use case is one of a product manager's most potent tools, and Cockburn will give you a thorough grounding. You may not use all his conventions, but it's worthwhile being familiar with them."
"Leffingwell's book is pretty much THE basic reference and tutorial on handling requirements from beginning to end (even though I prefer Cockburn's take on the use cases themselves.) It's slanted towards the Rational school of, say, "heavy" requirements and won't suit the taste of Agile Development proponents. But still a thorough treatise worth having, even if you only read it selectively."
"Linda Gorchel's book is a good introduction to the broad scope of a product manager's job. It isn't specific to technology, which is generally a good thing. Particularly valuable if you're relatively new to product management - or think you might want to move into the role."
"Even if your team doesn't routinely use UML (Unified Modeling Language) in defining and describing projects, it's worth your while to become familiar with it. UML offers a framework and toolset for methodically deconstructing complex problems - something that will always serve you in good stead. This book is the clearest UML tutorial I've found."
"This book substantially predated "The Tipping Point" and provides a more academic introduction to the topic. A pretty quick read, it'll give you the background to understand why all customers are definitely *not* equal - and the difference isn't based on how much they spend."
"So the CFO has scheduled a meeting with you to review your P&L, assess the ROI of your product line, and discuss the impact of your product's COGS on its contribution margin. If your memory from undergrad or MBA Finance classes is a little hazy, it's handy to have a quick refresher at hand."