The irony within the world of product is that, despite the fact that our profession exists in order to solve business problems for others, we haven’t solved our own.
It still takes a number of products and services for us to effectively manage products from inception to retirement.
It also takes a lot of knowledge and thinking.
Here are some of the product management resources that I’ve found to be helpful.
Product Management Blogs:
We’re in the second, if not third, wave of product management blogging. New sites like Medium and Quora have made it easier to write; more vendors have become active with content blogging; and more practitioners have put up their own blogs. I follow a number of them, and I thought it might help to list some of my favorites:
- Teresa Torres – ProductTalk, started in 2011, is at the top of my list for a reason: It’s excellent. She’s assembled the kind of thoughtful, carefully-mapped coverage of product topics that I aim to create. Lots to learn, with no fluff. Essential.
- MindTheProduct – A product community curated by the organizers of the Mind The Product conferences and ProductTank meetups, this site shares more video than other product sites (including mine). Two of the three founders are also the team behind ProdPad (see below).
- Shardul Mehta – Shardul started writing in 2010 and has a lot of great insights to share. He also offers free assistance calls using the SoHelpful.me platform.
- The Clever PM – The Clever PM is an attorney and product professional who has built an immense readership on Quora, and as of last year, runs his own blog. A new voice worth reading.
- Marty Cagan – Marty’s articles are essential for software product professionals. Cagan shares insights from his deep experience from large organizations and startups and has been doing so since 2005. One of the earliest and still one of the most impactful.
- April Dunford – April’s marketing and product marketing writings at RocketWatcher provide important insights and practical tools for product professionals working in B2B technology startups.
- Rich Mironov – Rich founded the first ProductCamp and provides executive level insights into the product profession. He’s a voice I always look to for inspiration.
- Cindy Alvarez – Another veteran writer, Cindy’s specialty is user experience, research and customer development. Always providing quality content, I’m happy to see her writing more actively as of this update (July 2015).
- Steve Johnson – Steve’s “Under 10 Consulting” speaks to my opinion that product professionals can gain some effectiveness by focusing on the 20% of tools that drive 80% of the value.
- Roman Pichler – Roman provides product insight with a focus on applying product in an Agile context. Roman has been at this a while, and continues to share practical tips and insights.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Roundups. There’s more product related content being published than ever, from vendors to writers on Medium and all around the web. Two examples:
- 15 Tips on the Skills and Mindset of a Successful Product Manager
- 47 Experts on How to Be an Amazing Product Manager – this one quotes me at the end!
Product Management Tools:
Here are a group of tools we have used or evaluated positively in our organization and which address essential needs:
- Aha! – a roadmapping tool that blends internal and external idea management and prioritization, strategy alignment, and flexible roadmap management.
- ProdPad – a roadmapping tool that blends internal idea management, three-tier roadmap management including current/near-term/future, and alignment with product canvas and user personas.
- Trello – A flexible kanban board tool useful for tracking progress of numerous activities.
- Google Docs – Useful for collaborating on spreadsheets and text documents without the hassles of files on shared drives.
- UserVoice – Useful for external idea and feature request management and help desk management –
- Pivotal Tracker – The app our product owners use to manage the development backlog.
- Balsamiq Mockups – My favored mockup creation tool – intentionally imprecise and conceptual, and great for helping product managers interface with the user experience function.
Check out this post from Indicative listing “The 87 Most Essential Tools for Data-Driven Product Managers” for a number of others, if my “essentials” aren’t enough 🙂
Product Management Training Courses:
These training providers help product professionals understand what the profession is like in companies that do it more by the book than their current organization. Please also see my post about product management training.
- The Complete Product Management Course – This is one of the more thorough video-based courses I was able to find, offered by a PM formerly of Apple and NASA.
- The 280 Group offers a number of training courses for product professionals, in both in-person and downloadable format. Brian Lawley and his team offer deep experience in all aspects of product management.
- Proficientz offers courses that specialize in B2B portfolio management. John Mansour’s approach is to align to buyer problems, rather than to individual products, as this tends to create more value over time.
- Pragmatic Marketing is the best known of the product management training vendors. Their offerings are mature and trusted by many who advance in the profession.
Product Management Books:
Geoffrey Moore’s classic book Crossing the Chasm describes what it takes to take a product that is accepted by early adopters to acceptance by the early majority..and it’s not easy!
Marty Cagan’s Inspired is my favorite pure product management book. Composed of numerous blog posts, Cagan shares a number of forward-thinking processes that make companies in Silicon Valley different.
Eric Reis’ book the Lean Startup is the book that brought hypothesis experimentation and customer discovery into vogue in the startup community.
Alan Cooper, the father of Visual Basic and one of the pioneers of the user experience function, explains why we need designers in charge of software development rather than developers.
Kim and Mauborgne tell a story about creating market opportunity that is illustrated with examples that are easy to relate to and provide a simple framework for innovative thought.
Jim Collins writes about what makes Great companies different, in the sense of what allowed them to up their game from Good. This talks about how to scale and reinvent companies.
Rich Mironov, founder of the first ProductCamp in the Valley, shares his experiences with product as collected from posts written on his blog, Product Bytes. Check out the interview of Rich that I published in 2011!