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Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love Hardcover – 4 December 2017
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- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1119387507
- ISBN-13 : 978-1119387503
- Best Sellers Rank: 1,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
From the Inside Flap
How do today's most successful tech companies--Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla--define, design and develop the products that have earned the love of literally billions of people around the world? Perhaps surprisingly, they do it very differently than the vast majority of tech companies. In INSPIRED, technology product management thought leader Marty Cagan provides readers with a master class in how to structure and staff an empowered and effective product organization, and how to discover and deliver technology products that your customers will love--and that will work for your business.
With sections on assembling the right people and skills, discovering the right product, embracing an effective yet lightweight process, scaling the product organization, and creating a strong product culture, readers can take the information they learn and immediately leverage it within their own organizations--dramatically improving their own product efforts.
Whether you're an early stage startup working to get to product/market fit, or a growth-stage company working to scale your organization, or a large, long-established company trying to regain your ability to consistently deliver new value for your customers, INSPIRED will take you and your product organization to a new level of customer engagement, consistent innovation, and business success.
Filled with the author's own personal stories--and profiles of some of today's most-successful product managers and technology-powered product companies, including Adobe, Apple, BBC, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix--INSPIRED will show you how to turn up the dial of your own product efforts, creating technology products your customers love.
The first edition of INSPIRED, published ten years ago, established itself as the primary reference for technology product managers, and can be found on the shelves of nearly every successful technology product company worldwide. This thoroughly updated second edition shares the same objective of being the most valuable resource for technology product managers, yet it is completely new--sharing the latest practices and techniques of today's most-successful tech product companies, and the men and women behind every great product.
From the Back Cover
PRAISE FOR INSPIRED
"It is rare to find someone like Marty who has impacted early founders, high-growth startups, and multi-billion dollar companies over decades through his product leadership. So when he decides to distill his knowledge in a book, it becomes a must read!" --Avid Larizadeh Duggan, General Partner, GV (Google Ventures)
"If you only have one book on product management, this is the one." --Chad Dickerson, Former CEO, Etsy
"This book was a catalyst for helping us transform how we organize and operate. Marty gave us a compelling case for change, actionable steps, and the fundamental truths to keep us on course." --Ann Yauger, AVP Product, CarMax
"When I was a product leader, I experienced a fair bit of accidental successes and puzzling failures. Marty's writing has helped me understand how product managers and product organizations really should work. I wish I'd had this book years ago." --Jeff Patton, Agile Product Leadership Coach
"I don't know of any other person who has the breadth and depth of knowledge and insight in Product Management that Marty possesses. This is not your typical business book where you skim it in 30 minutes and wonder why it was worth $14.99. INSPIRED is a book you can study, discuss, use to teach, show to your management, and use as a force for change in your company or in your career." --Kyrie Robinson, VP User Experience, Chegg
"INSPIRED was an invaluable resource to me and the Heroku team when we were scaling through the challenging 50-150 employee phase. This book should be on the shelf of anyone in a product leadership position." --Adam Wiggins, Co-Founder, Heroku
"The first edition of INSPIRED shaped my thinking as a young product manager, and I now assign it to my students to make sure they are making the right things in the right way. INSPIRED teaches you to think like Silicon Valley's smartest product managers." --Christina Wodtke, Author, Professor, and Startup Advisor
"Product Management is the art and science of creating the products that give each company its existence. It's the core of a business. For the digital world, Marty Cagan helps you understand and master Product Management like no other. This is essential reading to remain relevant tomorrow." --Frerk-Malte Feller, Workplace by Facebook
"When asked what product is, and how companies can accelerate growth, I always start with 'read INSPIRED and then we can talk.'" --Sarah Bernard, VP Product, Jet.com
"When Marty talks and writes about product, it becomes clear that his knowledge is based on walking the walk. He knows the difference between great technology, and great products based on great technology." --Bjorn Carlson, Engineering Team Lead, Google Cloud Platform
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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):
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)
As a product manager who is just starting in the role, I find it useful as one could find useful a history book, I was expecting more information about the actual day to day of a product manager.
I didn't actually want to review it but my experience was so different than most of the reviews I read prior to buying it, I felt I should add a bit of color.
My TL;DR review is that this book has been $15 at different times and I bought it when I got a $3 special offer. Based on the reviewer and the $3 price, it's worth an average 3-star review for 3 bucks. (If I had paid full price I would have given it 1 star.)
In reading this book it's clear the author of this book was a very successful product manager who has largely moved on to bigger and better things. He mostly spends time listing possible org structures, roles, techniques. He doesn't get into product manager subjects until half of the book is over. When he does get into it, there's value in a less-than-wikipedia sense. He covers things which are very important (I've been creating and managing products for more than a decade), but he covers them superficially and you'd probably be better off googling a topic than readaing his thoughts about it. This is not an insult- I say probably because he clearly is not PM anymore... there are no real insights here. You are not going to be inspired or rethink anything you've learned from this book.
This brings me to the style. This book is two parts...
1) the table of contents and
2) the contents.
The TOC is valuable and anybody updating the wiki page for product management would benefit from reading this book. It's well organized and covers a lot of ground.
The contents. This book is written in conversational style. It might even come across as notes from a course lecture. Outside of the TOC/outline, there is very little structure to it. The author goes on every tangent and segway you could imagine. Many times in a topic he will spend more than half of his content hedging and contextualizing what he is about to say, and then finally gets back to the topic title. Very frequently I was disappointed by the actual relevance to the chapter for most of the content in the book.
Note- I'm not saying his contextualling and hedging isn't valuable. The author has a tremendous sent of knowledge and experience. He's not particularly great at articulating it or presenting insights. The book reads mostly as somebody who is upselling you on something else that is not on the book. There are very few personal stories, everything is very abstract and opinionated but there is no depth, humor.
I think the thing that is most important to me that was lacking. I'm an accidental product manager and entrepreneur. I have created products and businesses in multiple industries not because I was paid to do so but because I was trying to serve customers and a larger purpose and in order to do this, products were born. If you look at truely great product managers like Steve Jobs ([i used to list other people here, but some of them talk about themselves enough that it's not necessary]). Jobs wasn't just detail- he was- and he wasn't just big picture. He had a unifying vision and a soul. There is no vision or soul to this book.
That is not to say it's not worthwhile, if you know nothing about product management... this is an excellent starting point of things to research more. To the author's credit, he states several times (5-10) that he's not going to cover areas because they are better covered in other books. In a couple of places he provides other names of books. All of his recommendations are worthwhile, but he spends a lot of time saying very little that you couldn't find googling his chapter list.
I think that's my final advice. The chapter list is free, so if you google parts that you know least about, are most interested in, or are most important.... you will probably find a lot more timely information, deeper insight and get a lot more from your time than you will from this book.
I'd like to say that I'm going to eventually come back and do this. At this point I'm not sure I will. For me- outside of the price- what makes an ok vs a great professional book is how soon I act on an idea in the book. If I'm acting on ideas in the first chapter, that is a really great book. If I'm bubbling up a series of ideas that I could act on half way through the book, that's a very good book. This book is so superficial, so impersonal, so lacking in originality... I almost feel like if you read this book and take it to heart you're constraining yourself in ways you will never appreciate.
So this is the basis of my 3 star rating. Lots here, but probably can find more in other places for same or better price.