Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2018
The second edition of Inspired is even better than the first (which used to be my favorite product management book).

It is the best articulation of how to be successful in product management and how to create successful products that I have ever read. It is impossible not to run into into insights about challenges you are having or have had as a product manager when reading it. (This can be a little creepy, how does he know about all these mistakes I have made, is he a psychic?)

Do you want to get a job as a product manager? Read and re-read Marty’s book and steal at least a few of his insights for the interview - you’ll sound like a genius.

Some of the topics that resonated for me (I’m sure there will be different ones for you):

-Product management is distinct from other essential roles: design, engineering, product marketing, and project management (Chapter 1).

-Two inconvenient truths that often cause failed product efforts are: at least half our ideas are just not going to work (customers ultimately won’t use it - which is why you need customer validation early in the process) and it takes several iterations to implement an idea so that it delivers the necessary business value (Chapter 6).

-The three overarching product development principles from Lean and Agile which help you create successful products are (Chapter 7)
-Risks should be tackled up front, rather than at the end.
-Products should be defined and designed collaboratively, rather than sequentially.
-Its is all about solving problems, not implementing features.

-You need a team of missionaries, not mercenaries to create the smallest possible product that meets the needs of a specific market of customers (Chapter 8,9).

-A product manager must bring four critical contributions to their team (Chapter 10):
Deep knowledge
1) of your customer
2) of the data
3) of your business and its stakeholders
4) of your market and industry

-Product managers (PMs) need product designers - not just to help make your product beautiful - but to discover the right product (Chapter 11).

-Typical product roadmaps are the root cause of most waste and failed efforts in product organizations (Chapter 22). It is all too easy to institute processes that govern how you produce products that can bring innovation to a grinding halt. You need to try to wean your organization off of typical product roadmaps by focusing on business outcomes, providing stakeholders visibility so that they know you are working on important items, and by eventually making high-integrity commitments when critical delivery dates are needed (Chapter 60). Part of this is managing stakeholders which includes engaging them early in the product discovery process ideally with high-fidelity prototypes (Chapter 61).

-Products should start with a product vision in which the product team falls in love with the problem, not the solution (Chapter 25).

- Strong product teams work to meet the dual and simultaneous objectives of rapid learning and discovery while building stable and solid releases in delivery. Product discovery is used to address critical risks: (Chapter 33)
-Will the customer buy this, or choose to use it? (value risk)
-Can the user figure out how to use it? (usability risk)
-Can we build it? (feasibility risk)
-Does the solution work for our business? (business viability risk)

- PMs can’t rely on customers (or executives or stakeholders) to tell us what to build: customer doesn’t know what’s possible, and with technology products, none of us know what we really want until we actually see it (Chapter 33).

- While Amazon has a culture of “write the press release first”, Marty suggests PM should write a “happy customer letter first." Imagine a letter sent to the CEO from a very happy and impressed customer which explains why he or she is so happy and grateful for the new product or redesign. The customer describes how it was changed or improved his or her life. The letter also includes an imagined congratulatory response from the CEO to the product team explaining how this has helped the business (Chapter 36).

- Product managers need to consider the role of analytics and qualitative and quantitative value testing techniques (Chapter 54).

- What it really means for a PM to be the CEO of Product is testing business viability: listening to Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, Finance, Legal, BD, Security, etc. before building the product (Chapter 56).

-Establishing a strong product culture requires (Chapters 66-67)
-Innovation culture: compelling product visions, strong product managers, empowered business and customer savvy teams product teams often in discovery
-Execution culture: urgency, high-integrity commitments, accountability, collaboration, results orientation, recognition, strong delivery management, frequent release cycles
(and it is hard to do both)
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