October 2, 2017

Five reads for success in Product Management

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Every product manager dreams of working in the symbiotic core between UX design, business expectations and systems development, but have limited succeeding in getting there. Managing people, processes and various technologies can be challenging at an organisational level, hence we often leave this in a grey area when it comes to personal organization and discipline. Here are 5 books we suggest on making this work for you.

1. The innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. This book centres itself around the tech that matters - the disruptors. These technologies come in at a low initial price point, while quickly knocking the top dogs out of the game - leaving many comprehensive businesses thinking ‘how did this happen?’ Christensen acknowledges the inevitability that the tech is quickly replacing many traditional business practices, and consequently the game around market leadership changes. If you’re playing catch up, it’s already too late. These technologies are ultimately industry defining, and often led by individuals who consequently become visionaries in their own regard. Christensen explores a few examples that give the upper hand to any proactive product manager.2. The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries. The definition of a start-up, according to Res, is an organisation dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. Hard to beehive such. Simple statement could have such a rippling explanation. There are many periphiery complexeties that are outlined by the definition - most notably questions of path and sustainability. This demands an extremely diversity of skills between creative execution and technical validation on a daily basis. Ries expands on how doing this on a personal level can make you as the product owner, a linchpin to any organization.3.The design of everyday things by Don Norman. We appreciate artists because of their ability to convey a message more efficiently than most. Similarly Norman gives us insight and analysis into the brilliance of everyday things. He reflects on how easy it has become in todays age to overlook the simple concepts of input and output, functions and controls. If you are looking to build products that satisfy customers, this is all you need and more.

4.Get One Thing Right by Andy Dunn. By aiming to get everything right, most companies don’t get anything right. Dunn explains how companies think in empires, collections and seasons rather than minimum viability, functionality and one-stop shops. The overlapping trends are there, between getting one thing right in your organisation, and personal role. Becoming great at one thing, requires individuals to be great at at least one thing too. This book is truly uplifting in acknowledging your own strengths, as well as the strengths of others. It covers everything from putting your nose to the grindstone, and those whose one thing is helping you get one thing right.

5. Cracking the PM interview: How to land a product management job in tech by Gayle McDowell and Jackie Bavaro. This book looks at complex problems of the world, and aims to overcome these with practical and scalable solutions. In this you’ll learn how to define the role of the PM in a vast array of companies, as well as how to make an impact at these companies. From start-up to the world’s best known companies, McDowell and Bavaro take you on a product joyride , with challenges that will be passed around the watercooler for days. Whether starting an internship or prepping for the most challenging interview questions the industry has seen - this book truly gives you the PM, an upper hand.

Tech continues to shape industry’s, while those who lead organisations make daily decisions that build up to a make or break organisation. By focusing of the already established strengths of an organisation, reputation and rapport become easily shareable. Once your one thing is 10x better than the closest competitor, organisations can focus on the bigger picture. Whether you’re ahead by 1 percent or 10 percent, you’ve got to get there first.

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