Mooncascade - 5 product management books you need to read this summer

TOP 5 product management books you need to read this summer

Even though we’re halfway through 2022, the hot summer holidays are still ongoing. As a software development agency, we know oh-so-well that the product development process is a continuous challenge that makes it difficult to take even short breaks without having the feeling of falling off the wagon. The fear of missing essential customer insights or catching up with competitors is even more vital in a very heavily crowded fintech market that’s currently affected by the economic situation. But fear not. There are steps you can take to brush up on your product management knowledge even on vacation without sacrificing your time off. The answer is: books! 

We all remember vacations from our childhood that were filled with reading. Whether it was fiction or nonfiction, a good book really caught us so that we often even couldn’t put it down. Now, as an adult, it can be the same, because some non-fiction books can be just as exciting and result in your powerful desire to implement this newfound knowledge. However, there’s a paradox – when facing some problems directly, it gets harder to see the bigger picture. Even if it could help solve or even eliminate smaller issues at hand, changing your perspective from work to some leisure activities will definitely widen your horizon, giving you a whole new perspective and therefore an ability to really see the big picture. 

To get you started on your journey towards exciting non-fiction reading material, our product and project managers have put together a list of books that have kept them up late at night and helped them in their daily jobs of building world-class software solutions: 

  1. “Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated” by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones is an oldie, but goldie! It’s a top pick for our head of project management Avo. “This book describes in a very good manner how to remove waste from processes and companies while focusing on things that create actual value. Little tricks and tips on how to measure the effectiveness of the project or process,” he says.
  2. “Product Roadmaps Relaunched: How to Set Direction while Embracing Uncertainty” by C. Todd Lombardo, Bruce McCarthy, Evan Ryan, and Michael Connors is a book that our PM Maarja fancies, because it clearly differentiates what the author sees as a true roadmap, what actually is a project plan and how you should not mix those two up. Maarja: “I personally found the 8 steps in how to address starting roadmapping very helpful. I also got a good template on how to write up a roadmap, what parts to include and what mixture of tools to set up for myself. There’s also an interesting Roadmap Health Assessment Checklist to go through to assess the shape of your roadmap.”
  3. “97 Things Every Engineering Manager Should Know” by Camille Fournier is a book that our PM Vjatseslav uses to get ideas on improving his products and team. The book doesn’t have a particular order in which you must read it. You can pick chapters in any order, so it’s an ideal book if your time is limited. By the way, we highly recommend it even if you’re not a manager, but still want to learn about tech products and teams. Vjatseslav has already started using a few tips from the book – namely Ground Rules in Meetings and Help Yourself to Better One-on-Ones.
  4. and 5. are two books “INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love” by Marty Cagan and “EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products” by Marty Cagan and  Chris Jones. These books are the favorites of Project Manager and Analyst Mihkel and these “twins” should really be on every product manager’s table! Actually, they’re even “triplets”, as there’s a fresh book “LOVED: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products” that’s also out. While the book “Inspired” gives a great overview on how to discover and deliver technology products, “Empowered” helps to understand how to compile a successful team from different individuals. “The biggest value this book provides is the idea that product management isn’t just about building products but also about introducing product culture mindset into the organization,” describes Mihkel. Another leitmotif in his opinion is that people should be missionaries, not mercenaries. “”Empowered” focuses more on what leaders can do in order to help product-minded people, how to notice and hire them, how to coach, motivate and transform teams by helping to set and achieve the goals. I haven’t yet read the third triplet “Loved”, therefore it’s hard to recommend it yet, but it’s already high on my summer reading list!”

So, as already said before, people usually have a tendency to start implementing good ideas right away but remember – you’re still on vacation, so we recommend you: 

  • write down the ideas you feel connected to;
  • add your own thoughts about how to work on this idea and how to implement it in your daily activities;
  • set up a reminder to visit this idea when you’re back at work. The gap between thinking and starting to implement the idea lets the idea settle in your subconscious;
  • share your findings with co-workers, customers and close ones.

If you have any suggestions on books for summer reading to share, we encourage you to do so in the comments. Enjoy your summer and your books and let your mind wander, so you can start fresh and fulfilled after the holidays.

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