Book review: Principles of Product Management (P. Yang)
Author: Peter Yang
Amazon.fr link: https://amzn.to/3ZFPgda
This is the summary you can find about the book.
Updated for 2020, Principles of Product Management is a hands-on, practical guide for new and aspiring product managers. The book has three parts:
- Principles: Part one covers the leadership principles that PMs use to lead their team to overcome adversity. When your product fails to gain traction, when your team falls apart, or when your manager gives you tough feedback—these are all opportunities to learn principles that will help you succeed.
- Product development: Part two covers how PMs at Facebook, Amazon, and other top companies build products. We'll walk through the end-to-end product development process— from understanding the customer problem to identifying the right product to build to executing with your team to bring the product to market.
- Getting the job: Part three covers how you can land a PM job and reach the interview stage at the right company. We'll prep you for the three most common types of PM interviews— product sense, execution, and behavioral—with detailed frameworks and examples for each.
This is an interesting book, I have recently decided to dig a bit more into Product Management to be able to help my clients on that front a bit more. I went through J. Stanier "Engineering and Product collaboration" course on Udemy and wanted to get another source on the topic to complement the approach.
The principles part does not have anything new if you have done a bit of research before on Product Management. It's a lot similar to Agile, and Lean approaches: find the Why, prioritize, communicate, compare expectations and results, and then loop back.
So the "Product development" part is of great help to give the reader some more details on how actually to implement this approach. In effect, it's also a good complement to J. Stanier's course and the approach he describes.
One thing, though: it's clear that P. Yang has a lot of experience working within large companies, and it's reflected in his book and examples. That said: the purpose of the book is to get people interested in becoming Product Managers on the right track to do so. And, as he points out there is a better chance to become a good one if you join large companies leading in their field.
My only annoyance was with the chapter about "project management". Although it aligns with how I would approach any project, I could see how some parts about deadlines and milestones could be ill-used to perpetuate the stress machine used in many tech companies.
Product development loop (chapter)
That chapter is a great overview of the process Product Managers, but also founders, and engineering leaders should keep in mind and use.
Understand: What is the customer problem we want to solve?
Identify: What product should we build to solve the problem?
Execute: What is the most efficient way to get the product shipped?
Product development (part)
This part is probably what any founder and engineer leader should read a few times and take notes.
It's a great condensed version of the general approach we are missing in most companies. It talks about the Product development loop (see above), why and how to put yourself in the customer's shoes, and setting and using metrics to figure out if you are going in the right direction. It also talks about mission, vision, and strategy before going into building roadmaps and putting together product requirements.
I'd recommend this book to most people interested in Product Management or working with a Product Manager. Lead and senior engineers should pick that book to get a general grasp of that role.
I'd still recommend James Stanier's course on Udemy for most engineers as a first before jumping into this book. The course is a lot more effective at giving a high-altitude picture of Product management mixed with Engineering processes than this book.