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Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products (Silicon Valley Product Group) Hardcover – December 3, 2020
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Praise for EMPOWERED
"EMPOWERED dives deep into the tough organizational and cultural issues that get in the way of most companies I work with today. This is the experience and advice I’ve been waiting for in one book."
―Jeff Patton, Product Process and Design Coach
"I've known Chris for well over a decade. He is one of the finest product leaders I know. The product managers who worked for him went on to become great product leaders themselves, in some of the best tech companies around. If you want to learn from the best, this book captures those lessons."
―Doug Camplejohn, EVP and GM, Sales Cloud, Salesforce
"Once again, Marty's wisdom and unique perspective have synthesized best-in-class companies, cultures, and leaders into a thesis and set of principles that are transformational. Easy to consume and apply, EMPOWERED is a must read for product leaders and all leaders who are convinced there must be a better way."
―Chuck Geiger, former CTO Chegg, IAC, PayPal, eBay, Wine.com, Travelocity
"If you're leading product people or even the whole product organization of your company, this book is for you. It’s the first book to outline the underlying philosophy behind stellar product organizations from a leader's perspective, and its many examples make it easy to understand these concepts and apply them in your company’s environment."
―Petra Wille, Product Leadership Coach
"As one of the most respected leaders on product globally, Marty takes us for a fascinating ride that will help you become a better product leader so you can do what you do best―create satisfying, engaging experiences for your users and customers."
―Simon Zhang, CEO, Growing IO
"To thrive in this age of constant disruption, companies must accelerate innovation and continuously deliver products customers love. A higher level of consistent innovation can only come from truly empowered teams. Over the past several years, Marty's insights, practical advice, and wisdom have been immensely valuable during our transformation to a highly empowered product organization. In this book, Marty provides an essential blueprint for building empowered teams. If you are serious about achieving extraordinary business results and developing a product innovation culture you can be truly proud of, this is a must-read!"
―Shamim Mohammad, SVP, Chief Information and Technology Officer, CarMax
"I've had the good fortune to work with Marty for many years, and yet, every time he comes out with a new book or article, I’m filled with both excitement and fear. What new product techniques are our competitors using that we are missing? EMPOWERED hits the mark dead on and provides a recipe for creating great products. Marty has a knack for making difficult product techniques seem both necessary and tangible. Read the book and rejuvenate your company!"
―Jeff Trom, CTO, Workiva
"The core challenge of all tech companies today is to be a truly product-led organization, with continuous product innovation resulting in sustainable competitive advantage. EMPOWERED to change their companies in order to survive and thrive."
―Frerk-Malte Feller, COO, Afterpay
"If you are wondering what will ensure your company survives, or why your products are failing, read this book. This is the 'how to'’ manual for building great product companies that last."
―Amanda Richardson, CEO, CoderPad
"I included INSPIRED as mandatory reading for anyone joining my product development teams. Now I'll add EMPOWERED to the list of mandatory reading."
―Joca Torres, CPO, Gympass
"INSPIRED has been a manual for our team to build better products. EMPOWERED is now a manual to build a stronger team. Everything I've read from SVPG is spot on, and often feels like I can use it the same day."
―Ian Cairns, Head of Product for Twitter Developer Platform
"EMPOWERED is first and foremost about permission. Companies have to give themselves the permission to orient around a culture of product centricity. Everything from org structure, to technology, to culture and coaching derives from this. And nothing embodies this idea more than Marty's writings."
―Punit Soni, founder, CEO, Suki
From the Inside Flap
What is it about the top tech product companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix and Tesla that enables their record of consistent innovation?
Most people think it's because these companies are somehow able to find and attract a level of talent that makes this innovation possible. But the real advantage these companies have is not so much who they hire, but rather how they enable their people to work together to solve hard problems and create extraordinary products.
As legendary Silicon Valley coach–and coach to the founders of several of today's leading tech companies–Bill Campbell said, "Leadership is about recognizing that there's a greatness in everyone, and your job is to create an environment where that greatness can emerge."
The goal of EMPOWERED is to provide you, as a leader of product management, product design, or engineering, with everything you'll need to create just such an environment.
A natural companion to Marty Cagan's bestseller, INSPIRED, EMPOWERED tackles head-on the reason why most companies fail to truly leverage the potential of their people to innovate: product leadership.
The book covers:
- How empowered product teams are different from the "feature teams" used by most companies to build technology products
- Recruiting and coaching the members of product teams
- Creating an inspiring product vision and product strategy
- Assigning teams problems to solve—rather than features to build
- Transforming the product organization from feature teams to empowered product teams
- Publisher : Wiley; 1st edition (December 3, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 111969129X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1119691297
- Item Weight : 1.69 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Part I Lessons from top tech companies
- Nothing concrete in this section
Part II Coaching
- It mostly talks about the importance of the various aspects of coaching, but in terms of how to become better at each one of them, I got very little out of this book. You are much better off reading "High Output Management" instead.
Part III Staffing
- Nothing new here, if you have read a book on how to hire and develop employees (again better off reading "High Output Management."
Part IV Product Vision and Principles
- This one talks about how important it is to create a product vision and using visiontype is a good one to do that (again, nothing concrete)
Part V Team Topology
- How to structure product teams. If you've read "Inspired", this is pretty much a repeat or revision of what you already know.
Part VI Product Strategy
- The key takeaway here is that product strategy should be focused, driven by insights and composed of key problems to solve to achieve the business goals. It doesn't tell you how to come up with product strategy btw.
Part VII Team objectives
- The key takeaway here is that objectives are key problems to solve, and the product leaders are supposed to allocate these objectives across the different product teams (it should be done through conversations with the product teams of course). And the product teams are supposed to come up with the key results, not the product leaders.
Part VII Case Study
- This is probably the most interesting part of this book. It's also interesting for me personally because I am 99% certain about the name of the jobs marketplace company that's featured here (I have worked in this space).
Part IX and Part X
- Repeat of what's mentioned in earlier parts of this book as well as "Inspired"
Dave Tucker, Sr. VP of Technology, Workiva
I loved the fact that specific use cases are provided. For example when we talk about an empowered team versus a feature team what does that mean and look like? More importantly, what do empowered product teams do differently that create more customer and business value?
Three topics specifically resonated with me that I plan to focus more on in 2021.
1. Coaching - Everyone deserves a good manager who actively coaches them.
2. Product Vision - Explaining the meaningful impact we have on customers lives.
3. Product Strategy - Giving teams a small number of hard problems to solve and the space to solve them.
If you are serious about being an exceptional product leader, this book will absolutely raise your game IF you sincerely put it to use.
Top reviews from other countries
Cagan and Jones are probably in the best position to see a stark difference between the technology-powered products created by the best companies and the products created by most companies. There are three specific areas where this difference is the most apparent: the way in which technology is viewed, the role product leaders play and the purpose of product teams. The book elaborates on these area, offering helpful stories and pointers.
I highly recommend “Empowered” to anyone who wants to truly understand what’s involved in product leadership, and what is imperative for any strong product company.