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Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
About This Book
This book is for every product person. It’s for the senior in college who wants to be a product manager but doesn’t quite understand the full landscape of the job. It’s for the first-time product manager who was thrown into the fray and is looking for guidance. It’s for the product manager, just promoted to VP, who needs a guide to set up their organization so that it scales successfully. It’s for the leaders of large organizations who are looking to obtain that competitive advantage.
The version of Escaping the Build Trap you are about to read is the fourth rewrite of this book in three years. It is a culmination of what I have learned about how roles, strategy, process, and organizational dynamics affect the value that a company can deliver.
This book is a guide to getting out of the build trap with great product management. We look at what it means to become and be a product-led organization, which involves four key components:
- Creating a product manager role with the right responsibilities and structure
- Enabling those product managers with a strategy that promotes good decision making
- Understanding the process of determining what product to build, through experimentation and optimization
- Supporting everyone with the right organizational policies, culture, and rewards to allow product management to thrive
About the Author
Melissa Perri believes the key to creating great products is growing great product leaders. As the CEO and founder of Produx Labs, she helps companies effectively scale their product organizations. Melissa also founded the online school Product Institute and started a program to train the next generation of Chief Product Officers. She is an internationally recognized, sought-after keynote speaker. Melissa graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Operations Research and Information Engineering.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B07K3QBWG1
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (November 1, 2018)
- Publication date : November 1, 2018
- Language: : English
- File size : 5299 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 239 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #35,793 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This book is about creating an effective product management organization. However, it is valuable to every team member, not only the product manager. Each of us should be thinking about what problems customers want to solve and how we can deliver chunks of that value frequently and sustainably. As a tester, I feel I have a lot to learn from the “great project manager” that Melissa describes in this book - able to collaborate with business stakeholders, technical team members, and designers. The kinds of questions that great product managers ask, as described here, inspire me to ask better questions from a testing perspective.
Techniques like the Product Kata are practical ways for teams to build a vision through continual learning and involving everyone in the organization. When we’re heads down in the trenches developing software, it’s easy to lose track of what’s valuable to the business and customers. The real-life examples here, with hypotheses supported by ways to measure progress, let readers see how we can apply these on our own teams.
The techniques for solution exploration are such effective ways to guide software development with business-facing tests and experiments. I’m lucky to have seen experiments like this succeed “in the wild”. No matter what your role on a team, particularly an agile team, the insights in this book will help you do a better job of getting value to your customer frequently.
First, Melissa sets the table with one of the most common problems facing folks in corporate America today: The "Build Trap" (output over outcomes). This is something the broader corporate world faces, not just firms operating in the of digital space.
From there she moves to covering Product Management as a leading role in firms. She covers the bad, the great, and offers some thoughts on career paths. What I specifically appreciated was highlighting the fact that a great product manager does not have to have a large staff or even a staff at all. A great Product Manager influences, questions, experiments, and even questions the analysis of results.
Melissa gives a nice overview of how one connects Product Vision through to execution and how Product Management helps lead this. In many organizations, we find PMOs or tech leaders dividing up these into "phases" or assigning them to silos. Melissa dispenses with that and leaves the ownership where it belongs: a Product Management organization that helps lead the teams in the right direction (that direction being the customer).
She follows this up with some tips for how to approach Problem and Solutions exploration. Her thoughts and examples on using a Product Kata (adapted from Mike Rother's work) is helpful and can easily help focus a team on how to get to effective solutions more crisply.
Finally, her overview of what a good Product Management Organization looks like cuts to the chase. It's a very solid overview of what "good" looks like. It's not a nirvana state to never be attained, but a realistic view into where companies can get to.
As a practicing Agilist, I appreciated this book since it is not an encyclopedia of Product Management, but rather it is a great overview of it. No author can solve your problem with their pre-baked solution. However, Melissa does not try to do that in her book. She provides a framework and mindset that helps people to consider ways to solve their own problems. This book is one that I can readily hand out to help start conversations, spark discussions, and paint a picture of where we need to go. Also it will help to align my fellow coaches, tech leaders, and product leaders AWAY from the Build Trap and towards real value delivery.
In addition to these great value adds, Perri documents a generalized product career path and org structure that makes sense! It was so clear to understand her reasoning and position, I was even swayed in my opinions about some minutiae around tasks for senior product leaders. An appendix that gives some examples of good questions to ask companies to find out if they are product driven was immediately useful the week that I read it.
Lastly, the book is only about 200 pages, which means every page is valuable. I handed this book to my boss when he was planning a round of hiring and even if he only read the first 20 pages, I know he got a lot of product knowledge from it. I look forward to reading it AGAIN! My two copies are already so heavily highlighted and dog-eared.
Top reviews from other countries
Written with clarity and plenty of illustrative examples borne out of long, hard-won experience, it explains both the 'How should we work?' and 'Why is that important?' in language that doesn't require a doctorate in Agile to understand.
I suspect that many copies of this will be 'conveniently' left on the desks of exec stakeholders. Some of them by me.
It's short enough to read in a few hours, but can introduce you to many concepts and practical practices worth further reading.
Covers the benefits of product led organisations, and how to create alignment around mission, vision, goals, strategy, as well as how to iterate & experiment towards success at all levels. In contrast to top-down edicts, elaborate plans, locked down budgets & immutable roadmaps.
Worth a read for anyone from those considering a move into product management, to software engineers who want to deliver value, to executives who want to be successful.
Even if the content and concepts aren't new to you, it's likely to be an inspiring reminder of what good looks like.
I work in a large scale 10k plus organisation with large scale nationally important products. I have already shared and bought this book for other product managers struggling with what good modern product management looks like and as a guide on the best practice.
I thank Melissa for writing such an easy to follow book with the right mix of theory and craft with practical frameworks to help.
Must read for anyone getting to grips with product management in 2019.