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What are some PM-focused books I can read?

I'm pursuing a product management position and I'd like to get into the mindset of being a PM. I'm currently a software developer. I know that experience is best, so I am working on that, but in the meantime, I'd love to know some books that I might be able to take a look at. Thanks! #product-management #pm #software-engineer #givingiscaring

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Julia’s Answer

Inspired by Marty Cagan! https://www.amazon.com/INSPIRED-Create-Tech-Products-Customers-ebook/dp/B077NRB36N

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Sunil’s Answer

Take a look at Geoffery Moore in particular and also Clayton Christensen's books. I've included links to books by both authors and also to a book that has less to do with Product Management and more to do with Project Management by Eliyahu Goldratt. I recall reading Critical Chain and realizing that it helped in understanding the constraints in any product development exercise.

Sunil recommends the following next steps:


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Tuhina’s Answer

In addition to the suggestions above, consider reviewing the Agile sections of Project Management Body of Knowledge
by Project Management Institute. If you end up reading the whole book, consider studying and taking the exam and getting the PMP credential as a resume boost.

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Chris’s Answer

There are a ton of great product management books out there; a few ones I enjoy are:

Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug (great book on UX and designing products)
Hooked - Nir Eyal (book about creating habit-forming products)
Inspired - Marty Cagan (great intro to product thinking)
Influence - Robert Cialdini (great book about shaping customer / user behavior)

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Angela’s Answer

Hi Cassia T., here are some recommendations. I found the Cracking the PM Interview book particularly helpful during my interview preparation. I also find StellaPeers pretty useful (https://stellarpeers.com/frameworks/). It has case problems related to product management (i.e., product strategy, metrics etc.), that can use to practice to get into the mindset of PM. Hope this helps!

a. Zero to One
b. Swipe to Unlock
c. Hooked
d. Cracking the PM Interview

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Erik’s Answer

There are a lot of excellent PM books out there. Here's a list of some PM books that I have on my bookshelf that I've found very helpful for managing various projects:

1) Scrappy Project Management, by Kimberley Wiefling
This is written in a funny an entertaining way, and discusses a variety of pitfalls and how to avoid and deal with them.

2) Waltzing with Bears, by Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister
This is more focused on software project risk management, but a very good read.

3) Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers, bu Anthony Mersino
This is more focused on people skills, which is critical for successful projects.

4) Software Project Survival Guide, by Steve McConnell
This is one of the classic books on software project management, and considered one of the best books out there.

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Stacey’s Answer

All of the Strategyzer books (Alexander Osterwalder , Yves Pigneur) are great because they talk about an approach to product development that is predicated on designing the right business model and approach. They have GREAT tools for business case design (business model canvas) and value proposition design. This design thinking approach healps de-risk development and works well with an Agile approach.

Start with: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
And move to: Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want
Testing business ideas is one of their most recent book which provides great insight into ways that you can test and iterate a product early vs. building it all the out.

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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Cassia!

I made the transition from software developer to product manager a few years ago! (I'm now a product designer, which is another story)

Here are the resources that helped me. Product Management is tricky because it's so different from job to job. Some PM roles look more like project management, while others look like being a mini-CEO of your particular product area. I tend to like books that treat it like the latter, and as you look for PM opportunities, it's worth filtering out roles that are more tactical than strategic in what they ask of you.

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

Inspired (by Marty Cagan). There are actually two editions of this book (2008 and 2017). They're both worth reading, though if you can only read one I'd read the 2017 version. https://www.amazon.com/INSPIRED-Create-Tech-Products-Customers/dp/1119387507/
Zero to One (by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters) is a great book about how to create new things in a startup setting. https://www.amazon.com/Zero-One-Notes-Startups-Future/dp/0804139296
Wardley Maps (by Simon Wardley) are a great technique for creating business strategy. Here is part 1 of a 19 part blog post: https://medium.com/wardleymaps/on-being-lost-2ef5f05eb1ec
The Design of Everyday Things (by Don Normal). Not a PM book, specifically, but one of the best at helping you think about how to spot opportunities to eliminate pain and solve problems for users. https://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Revised-Expanded/dp/0465050654

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Aaditya’s Answer

Medium is a nice platform to find relevant information in this regard. A small article list I collated.

1. https://medium.com/pminsider/product-manager-skills-by-seniority-level-a-deep-breakdown-cd0690f76d10
Product Manager Skills by seniority Level

2. https://medium.com/pminsider/a-radical-and-simple-approach-to-product-prioritization-2e2c27e2c2e
A radical and simple approach to product prioritization

3. https://medium.com/pminsider/different-elements-of-product-management-62a6f09757e6
Different Elements of Product Management

4. https://medium.com/@tworetzky/what-does-a-product-manager-do-205b40d82da3
That does a product Manager Do?

5. https://medium.com/pminsider/interviewing-product-managers-94fbe6971600
Interviewing Product Managers

6. https://medium.com/pminsider/product-manager-career-paths-8c0f2a92d98e
Product Manager Career Paths

7. https://medium.com/@tworetzky/the-product-manager-superpower-user-science-7296134ae5a4
The Product Manager Superpower- User Science

8. https://medium.com/on-human-centric-systems/the-past-and-future-of-product-management-79db51fc1549
The Past and Future of Product Management

9. https://blackboxofpm.com/mvpm-minimum-viable-product-manager-e1aeb8dd421
Minimum Viable Product Manager

10. https://hbr.org/2017/12/what-it-takes-to-become-a-great-product-manager
What It takes to be a Great Product Manager

11. https://www.kennorton.com/essays/productmanager.html
How to Hire a Product Manager

12. https://www.learnpmwith.me/fundamentalconcpets/thebasics/
Online course- Articles and video set

13. https://medium.com/pminsider/a-curated-list-of-tools-and-software-for-product-managers-in-2019-3f5dec0cf2f4
Curated List of Tools and Softwares for Product Managers

You might want to follow the authors for their other articles as well.!

Regarding books, apart from the ones already mentioned, I suggest Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology by Gayle Laakmann McDowell