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The Phenomenal Product Manager: The Product Manager’s Guide to Success, Job Satisfaction and Career Acceleration Paperback – September 3, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I like this book as it paints not only pictures of the problems everyone faces in their professional life but also gives us an insight into how one can solve the problem.
What can I say - I really, really like this book - I would go as far as to call it an inspirational book.
You have to be a product manager, or aspire to be one, or be in some way involved with this professional discipline, in order to want to look at it; but if you do, you won't be disappointed.
Building on the success of and details within his earlier publication, "Expert Product Management", Lawley concisely and charmingly describes techniques and guidance in the realm of Product Management.
Lawley is a PM guru as head of the 280 Group, a Product Management consulting, training and services company. He knows his subject matter well, but instead of describing the role in terms of the nuts and bolts task-level, he takes a big step back and talks about the strategic value of the role, and what it takes to make a real success of the role. He rightly talks at a level that is nothing to do with the day-to-day, but more about its place in the organization, and how a truly gifted product manager can really make a difference to their stakeholders (including themselves).
As is Lawley's style (it is a style very much suited to the subject matter being presented), he keeps things simple, readable, fluid and compelling. Some of the pages turn at a fair old skip because you feel so in tune with the information being present its like an old song being played again after a long time. In fact, there are genuine spots where (I won't give the game away) you find yourself shouting back at the book, "Yes, yes!" in agreement, or where you find yourself thinking "oh yes, I remember the guy like that!"
I like some of the little nuggets of how the book is presented, not least the idea of a checklist for the big ticket items. I found Chapter 5 and 6, all about getting influence within the PM team and the wider management team both illuminating, insightful and frighteningly accurate. I even found the idea of the manifesto - and most of the words within - a little moment of inspiration.
The final section on the self-assessment is also a very, very useful perspective; we can all learn about ourselves by asking some truly testing questions. OK we Brits are always a little irked by shameless product placement and salesmanship and you get a bit of 280 Group flagwaving at the back - but this time I am going to forgive Mr. Lawley as he's earned it!
There are quite a few self-help guides out there. Characteristically, professional self-helps can lapse into sounding dry, dusty and may lose relevance as the years pass. Lawley's effort is a fresh, contemporary, insightful and actually highly enjoyable piece of prose which you will burn through in one sitting and be all the better for it.