Product management books that every entrepreneur should read

In the last four months since OfficeDrop’s tech and team was acquired, I have been catching up on a backlog of books that I bought but never had the time to read. Here are two books on product management I really like and strongly recommend that every entrepreneur and startup employee read:


Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan

inspiredlgIf there is one book you want to read on product management, this is the book. This book is not just for product managers but anybody who works with product managers that includes those from marketing, sales, engineering, project management and customer service.

It is an easy read, 200 pages long, one that you could plough through while taking a walk (I read it while walking Copper, our one and only dog) or while commuting to work.

In the first section, Marty talks about the importance of product management in this new world where 100s of new companies are launched every week and many of them fail. He discusses the roles and responsibilities of a good product manager, how they interact with non-product management team members and why great user interfaces play a critical role in product success.

In the second section, he discusses the process, activities and best practices to build great products – everything from product discovery to building a new minimal and marketable product. He finishes the section by presenting techniques to validate and test the product.

In the last section, he discusses what it takes to creating inspiring products by drawing upon experiences and best practices employed by companies such as Apple.

Agile Product Management with Scrum by Roman Pichler

Pichler_MECH.qxdIf Marty’s book is about what good product management is, Roman’s book is about how to practice it in real life. If you are an agile product manager or running agile product teams, this book is a must read.

I liked the second chapter of the book where he talks about the techniques one could employ in developing what the next product or the next version of the product should be. One technique that stands out is the Kano model. In the Kano model, you prioritize your backlog items by classifying them as either basics, performance or delighters.  I really like the idea of having one or more delighters in each product release, as it makes for a great story and excite bloggers and mainstream media. We employed this frequently at OfficeDrop when we released new versions of our mobile and desktop apps.

The third chapter discusses how to work with the product backlog. Techniques and best practices to groom, estimate and prioritize the backlog are presented. Chapter four discusses how to develop and manage a release plan and chapter five discusses how to run sprint meetings.


I would recommend reading these two books in the order I have listed. But if you are managing a product and have just enough time to read just one book, then you should read Roman’s book.

Author: Prasad Thammineni

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