A Product Manager’s Curriculum
A product manager wears many hats. You need to be a facilitator, a project manager, a dealmaker, a stand-in UX expert and many more things. This is a profession I’m still learning, but being able to grow every day of the week is the greatest inspiration. Besides learning from the everyday tussles on the battlefield that is the workplace, I spend at least an hour everyday with reading. Here’s a list of books that shouldn’t miss from any product manager’s shelf.
If you read only one book about product management (don’t do that), then it should be this one. Inspired gives a great overview on product management and the skills required to succeed in this job.
The Lean Startup teaches you how to navigate in a highly uncertain environment and test everything over and over again in your product development cycle until you get it right. I think this is a must read for anybody working with software products.
Sprint introduces the working process of Google Ventures. The book gives you a plethora of methods for your team, including all steps of the product development cycle from ideation to testing. This book will help you build better products faster.
An easy read with tremendous insight about human behaviour and decisions. Some great stories in there.
It’s so easy to pick up this book and read 1–2 chapters every day. This book will help you understand people and the mental processes behind their behavior. The practical examples are great.
An absolute classic that is a joy to read. This eye-opening book by Norman reminds us that design is everywhere and how we should always strive for creating understandable, usable and enjoyable products.
A guide to creating something all product managers dream about: a product or service your customers can’t imagine living without.
Usability & User Experience
Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation when you’re the only advocate for user-centered design in your organisation. Leah Buley provides a lot of survival tips for user experience design on a budget and many practical methods to get buy-in from your colleagues.
Another classic. This book is so easy to get into and covers so many bases. Anybody can enjoy this and get a basic understanding of web usability. This is a book you can give your boss, your co-workers or even your mum.
User Research & Testing
This book lays out a step-by-step guide for market research and product-market fit. Read this book only if you would like to find out the cold truth about your product from your customers.
A quick read about usability testing, something you should definitely do if you want to create great products. A lot of practical guidance and ideas that are easy to implement in any organisation.
Analytics is a something that’s getting more and more important in a product manager’s toolkit. This book gives you a good idea about what to measure, when to measure and how to measure in your product’s lifecycle.
A great product manager should be a great writer; this book teaches you how to effectively communicate your message. Letting Go of the Words will also give you some copywriting knowledge, something I use on every corner in my job.
Generally speaking I am not very fond of books that try to give you life advice, but this one is just so relatable. This book teaches you that may times it’s okay not to give a f ck, but there are some f cks you should always give.
Is there anything you’re missing from this list? Are there any books on your shelf you didn’t see? Let me know in the comments section!