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The Product Manager's Desk Reference 1st Edition

48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071591348
ISBN-10: 0071591346
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steven Haines is the founder of Sequent Learning Networks and The Product Management Executive Board. Sequent Learning Networks is a global training and advisory services firm based in New York City. Its mission is to help its clients improve the structure and function of Product Management so they can produce great products. The Product Management Executive Board is a professional association of senior executives who share a common bond in their quest for product excellence. Steven’s books serve as foundational bodies of knowledge and Product Management best practices for product managers, product leaders, and executives across the corporate landscape.

Steven spent more than two decades in corporate leadership roles in industries as diverse as wholesale industrial products, intimate apparel, medical products, communications, and software & technology. Further, he spent twelve years as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University’s business school.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 744 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1st edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071591346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071591348
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Haines is the founder and CEO of Sequent Learning Networks and its advisory council, The Product Management Executive Board (PMEB). Sequent provides product and business leaders the wherewithal to fine-tune their organizations to produce great products that customers clamor for. Steven and the members of his firm work closely with senior leaders to diagnose organizational issues, provide focused learning programs, and resources (books, templates, events, and Product Management certification through PMEB). Steven also delivers speeches and facilitated talks to product managers and business leaders on a variety of topics related to Product Management, business excellence, and leadership. Write to Steven at or visit
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Welds on October 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Product Manager's Desk Reference is a comprehensive reference for the product management process, useful for anyone who works in product management and product marketing.

The PMDR's The Product Master Plan is the 'plan of record', considered an anchor, an archive, and a point of reference for people who may come and go. The chapters on Leadership, Cross-Functional Teams, and Decision-Making are well-presented. Haines offers valuable guidance about finance for product managers who have no formal training in this discipline.

The second module, Making the Market Your Primary Focus, includes discussion of Industry & Competitive Analysis, Segmentation, Forecasting, and Strategic Planning, with clear explanation and practical tools such as The Customer Visit Plan Template in the segmentation chapter.

The third module's sections on The Start of the Product's Journey and the New Product Development Process are practical. The Business Case chapter and the Marketing Plan for the Product are well-organized and applicable.

The fourth module, Continuing the Product Journey: Post-Launch Product Management, considers what happens after the product is in the market. Haines offers auditing techniques after the launch, as well as a logical way to 'run the business of the product'. These tools enable re-strategizing, re-planning, and overall financial and market optimization. The chapter on Life Cycle Product Portfolio Management considers products as investments, and efficient ways to evaluate how products contribute to the business, across individual life cycles. Haines also offers practical guidance for product discontinuation.

The end of each chapter includes a section called Raise Your Product Management Experience Quotient, offering helpful tips and tools for product mangers. The book is easy-to-read, accessible, and well-organized. This is a worthwhile reference for anyone in product management or product marketing.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Noz on January 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There are some books that are destined to become classics in their field. The Product Manager's Desk Reference by Steven Haines is one of those books. Anyone working not just in Product Management but also Marketing and Business Development, should take the time (and it is a hefty volume of 700 pages!) to read and absorb the comprehensive body of knowledge that Steven has organized around Product Management. If that sounds too daunting, be reassured by the fact that this is a reference book as well, so specific topics can be accessed easily without reading the entire book.

Steven demonstrates his vast knowledge of the true scope of the Product Manager's role. After explaining the basics in the first module that goes through the Foundational Elements of Product Management, the Desk Reference then explains the myriad details that position the Product Manager as the end to end owner of the business. Starting with the market analysis of the industry and competition, he then moves onto the fundamental elements of the role by teaching customer need analysis, market segmentation, forecasting and product planning. However he doesn't forget that a Product Manager needs to be the champion who can keep the process moving along with the Product Development team as well as being able to persuasively argue the business case to management to justify the product investment.

In particular, I appreciated that he sees the Marketing function as intricately linked to the Product with the Marketing Plan and details of the Launch synchronized together with the Communications Team and Sales Channels.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Weber on January 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Steven Haines has does an amazing job of providing a resource that is useful to Product Managers regardless of experience level. The novice Product Manager would benefit from reading the book cover to cover to get a good understanding of what Product Management is about, where the experienced Product Manager can use it truly as a desk reference to get into the details when needed.

With every company defining Product Management differently, Product Managers often end up being the catch all. Steven has done an excellent job of bringing a standard definition of the roles and responsibilities of this "accidental profession" to the industry, and provided a path along with tools to improve your skills within the product management profession.

Short Answer: Buy this book and use it as the valuable resource it is.

Brian Weber
Product Manager
Thomson Reuters
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Product Manager's Desk Reference fulfills the promise of the title. It really does cover everything from philosophy to the full product cycle to place of the profession in the organization. It is light on marketing details and methods, as those can be found elsewhere, and instead emphasizes the mindset and cross-functional tools needed to be an effective CEO of a product or product line.

I bought this book because I am working towards becoming a Product Manager and wanted to learn what I should be able to do. The language was conversational and the concepts were accessible, both those I was able to relate to from my work experience and the ones new to me. When I do have a product management position I expect to be returning to the book repeatedly for honing of my best practices.

One of the most valuable parts of the book is the suggestions at the end of each chapter called "Raise Your Product Management Experience Quotient." They summarize the material but in terms of action items for you to do and apply to your own situation rather than in terms of bullets of information to absorb.

One thing I did notice is that some of the material seems to be scaled for use by large corporations and may need a little extra thought to apply to smaller organizations or groups. The questions are very valid and should be answered for successful products, but the number of people involved may be fewer and the reports simpler.

If you just want an introduction to the profession to see if it appeals to you or to understand what product managers do, then you don't need this book. If you are one, want to be one, or manage product development in any way - even if it's not your title - then this is a fantastic reference and you're bound to find some idea on how to fulfill your role more successfully. And since each chapter is essentially self-contained you can attack it in bites instead of all at once.
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