Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Phenomenal Product Manager book review

Six months ago, I felt like I needed to step back from my current activity. It was time for me to ask others what they felt were the basic and reference books about product management.

The result of the thread I initiated showed two books. One for a newbie and one as reference which receptively are:
After opening the delivery carton, I pulled out the books and held one in each hand. Their respected weight confirmed to me the one, I would read first.
After reading the third chapter of the Phenomenal Product Manager, I told myself: "My god this is another book about leadership". By reading this book, I was looking for product management knowledge but here I found something that described how to collaborate with people. But I continued up to the end, because it is well written and also because its end was not so far. Despite my disappointment, I was astonished by the quality of each tip and I was finding myself and my current situation in every chapter.

Finally, when I closed the book, I watched on last time its cover and read the title: The Phenomenal Product Manager : the product manager's guide to success, job satisfaction and career acceleration.
I read the entire book for a purpose for which it wasn't written and this book was given as the one for a newbie to read!

I went through the book a second time and my final review is:
This is a real pragmatic book to read when you start the activity of product manager, when you are feeling your have to step back.

The book is small, easy to read.
  • The first chapter lists the typical duties of product management and product marketing. Guess what: I went through this list with my marketing colleague and even thought the barrier is not so clear between our respective experience, we confirmed who is in charge of each part.
  • Chapters 3,4 and 5 are about your understanding of the relationships with the very different characters that are engineers, sales and executives.
  • The final ones proposed some good tips to improve yourself and your career. The final one is: "Have fun". I don't imagine performing the job can be done without fun.
Finally, this book shows me where I need to push myself a little more regarding my collaborators and on the other hand, reminds me how much I love this job.

I have been told smart people will move straight forward to become executive and do not remain in a product management role. Fair enough.
I realised while writing this post, how difficult this situation is, and now I need to understand if the product management can be combined responsibly with team management.
Thanks to Brian Lawley for this book.

I started to read the Product Managers's Desk Reference. I thought, it was only a reference book, but It seems to be more that that.

Sources :
The Phenomenal Product Manager: The Product Manager's Guide to Success by Brian Lawley,
The Product Manager's Desk Reference by Steven Haines.

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