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Making It Right: Product Management For A Startup World [Kindle Edition]

Rian van der Merwe , Smashing Magazine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $29.90
Kindle Price: $9.90
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Book Description

Product management is one of the most exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, and rewarding careers out there. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s for people who want to move mountains. It swallows some whole, but others derive endless invigoration and passion from the pace and the impact and the glory and the huge potential for failure as well as success. There’s no other job like it, and this is a book to help you make it your job.

The role of a product manager goes by many different names — and if that’s not reason enough to be confused, some companies define product manager completely differently from how it’s understood elsewhere. We sometimes get stuck in our quest to define the damn thing, but in the case of product management, it’s effort well spent, because it’s quite the jungle out there.

So with that as background, this book wants to accomplish three goals:

- Define the roles and responsibilities of product managers in the software development context.
- Explain why product management is an essential role in any organization, and what characteristics managers should look for when they hire product managers.
- Provide a framework and practical guidance for strategic product management; a framework that details the elements of product planning and product execution that make up a product manager’s day-to-day work.


Part 1: Introduction
- Introduction
- Chapter 1: Roles And Responsibilities Of The Product Manager

Part 2: Planning
- Chapter 2: Uncovering Needs
- Chapter 3: Product Discovery
- Case Study: The User Experience Of
- Chapter 4: Product Roadmaps

Part 3: Execution
- Chapter 5: Defining A Product
- Chapter 6: User-Centered Design And Workflows
- What About Responsive Design?
- Chapter 7: Specifications
- Chapter 8: Build And Release
- Chapter 9: Assess And Iterate
- Chapter 10: Product Management In Agile Methodologies
- Chapter 11: Getting Started

Product Details

  • File Size: 4656 KB
  • Print Length: 170 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Smashing Magazine (July 21, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,687 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Product managers are a special kind of designer July 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is jam-packed with practical guidelines. It is kind of eclectic without being contradictory by logically drawing on a vast collection of sources. It also shares generously from the author's personal experiences rather than dictating best practices off the bat. It undoubtedly succeeds in its goal of presenting a systematic approach to effective product management, but does so without losing the all-important human touch.

As a designer of UI interactions, code, and pixels on a screen, the book left me with the feeling that product managers are designers of a different sort – that of human craft, and business objectives, and how these two areas play out with one another during the very human (and therefore sometimes messy) process of adding something of value to the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a product management mentor July 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The thing that struck me immediately was the way the book STARTS OUT by focusing on the character traits and people skills that a PM needs. Usually these skills are treated as an afterthought in books like this, if they're even dealt with at all. The author continues to highlight the importance of these skills throughout the book, in a practical, useful way.

The book is an easy read, but by no means simplistic. It's written in a conversational style, and really, it feels a whole lot like having a mentor to help you along. I finished the book with a clear understanding of what a product manager is (I'm not one myself, although as a content strategist, I do work with them from time to time), and what role they fulfil.

The other thing that stood out to me was that the book is incredibly balanced. Time is spent highlighting all the elements of the digital product environment: user needs, business goals, and technical constraints. There's a sense that the author is realistic and positive, but not idealistic about what can be achieved by a PM or digital team.

The author cites plenty of resources throughout the book, giving the reader ample additional material to work through from a wide range of fields, not just digital design. Plenty of these resources are going to be useful in my own work, so their value is not limited to product managers.

I recommend this book, not just for product managers and aspiring product managers, but also for those who, like me, work under the leadership of PMs. You will gain an appreciation for the entire process they are facilitating, and you'll pick up a bunch of useful tools and resources as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, practical, advice on Product Management July 24, 2014
By Steve
Format:Kindle Edition
Rian’s book gives an excellent introduction and overview to Product Management as a role and as a lifestyle choice. There’s lots of good, solid, practical advice on many topics. The book is peppered with two very important things: practical advice on how to make your company and your job better; lots of links to more resources that can help you do the same.

One of the important themes of the book is strategy. Rian quite rightly emphasises the importance of tactical and long-term decisions in the software development life cycle, and reminds us of the importance of a clear focus on what to do next. This is clarified through the lens of product / market fit, and that we should keep a strong focus on the value we are providing to users and to the business.

As a developer, I was very pleased to see lots to talk about continuous, iterative, processes, which I think are at the heart of agile software development. The focus on providing the right environment (physical and mental) also made me very happy, as did the discussion around Responsive Web Design, and designing for the multi-device world.

I learned a lot for this book, and I’m looking forward to finding ways of implementing these ideas. The discussions around building a good product rang particularly true; avoiding dark patterns and doing a combination of what’s best for the users and what will make them happy in the long term feels like the right thing to be doing and focussing on.

The case study on is really, really, great. It builds on the practical advice with specific, concrete, examples of how and when to apply the principles in the book, for User-Centered Design principles as well and Product Management.

Final word:
“Seriously, uninstall Microsoft Word.”
Best. Advice. Ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Making it right" does just that July 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed the format of this book. I liked the way the author scares the pants off the reader in the beginning – it was rather unexpected! And yet, if you have ever worked in a product management role, quite apt.
The author has a gift of taking a rather complex and sometimes controversial topic (i.e. product management) and explaining it to the reader in such a way that at times I found myself nodding in agreement and thinking to myself "Jeesh, of course, what other way would one do that ". The book takes you on a journey through the 'product lifecycle' with the author using his own experiences as practical examples. The book is easy to read and there were times that I found myself rereading sentences as the statements were insightful and profound

I think that anyone who works in an organization that employs product managers or who is a product manager should read this book. It provides insight into what makes product management successful in an organization and also, what can make it fail. It provides guidelines to a new product manager starting out and at the same time reminds an old hat of the core principles that we may have forgotten.

In short, very well written.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for all product managers
Rian has written an excellent book which every product manager should read.
Published 4 months ago by Nathan
5.0 out of 5 stars great primer
For someone entering a new chapter of a career as a professional product manger, this book is perfect. Read more
Published 5 months ago by jw
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very clearly written with a lot of great tips and guidance.
Published 6 months ago by Jason dempsey
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast & easy-read
Fast and easy reading book.
Gives good examples and a great insight.
Published 7 months ago by Hans
4.0 out of 5 stars extremely useful!
Clear, crisp, to the point....extremely useful!
Published 7 months ago by Sandeep Das
4.0 out of 5 stars Very practical and easy to read book
As a manager of an IT Development department I read this book to update my knowledge on the people I manage. This worked very well. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Anneke Keller
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Useful Book on Product Managment
Really great examples and descriptions about what Product Management is about.
Published 8 months ago by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Defines very well the product manager role
This books explains the differents phases of product development and gives very useful tips for each of them. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Vié
4.0 out of 5 stars good overview
A good overview of modern product management. Excellent secondary links to the web and 3rd party sources. A bit underdeveloped when it comes to Ux in agile.
Published 9 months ago by Inficant
5.0 out of 5 stars great, quick read
Finished this in 2 days. Easy to keep reading, and so much applies to the current state of our company. I'm eager to see some his suggestions play out in my workplace.
Published 10 months ago by Andrew
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More About the Author

Rian designs and builds software that people love to use. After spending several years working in Silicon Valley and Cape Town, South Africa, he is now located in Portland, OR. He also writes regularly about design, technology, and software development for Smashing Magazine, A List Apart, and his own site, Elezea.

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