Monday, 5 June 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Product Leadership By Richard Banfield, Martin Eriksson, Nate Walkingshaw

I've had this book on preview as each chapter came out and I've finally had a chance to read the full release version. So before it gets officially launch at MTPCon on June 13th here is my round-up...

Formats: Paperback, DAISY, ePub, Mobi, PDF

Where can I get it? From O'Reilly, Amazon or .... any good bookshop, although I think there are currently only 500 physical copies left world wide!
Who is it for? Anyone involved in a software product development team or a startup founder thinking about which roles to hire next. 

What's it about? Product management, product leadership, not just the overlap but also the differences. How to grow your career as you grow into product leadership and how to hire the role for senior management.

What's the book like? The book is divided into three sections:

  1. The Product Leader
  2. The Right Leader for the Right Time
  3. Working with Customers, Agencies, Partners, and External Stakeholders

The first section concentrates on the different areas of product management, the skills needed, artefacts and processes required, and what success looks like. It might be too "meta" for some, but I liked the way it applied treating the role as a product that needed managing. For some of the lessons of moving from practitioner to leader I wish I had this book a few years ago as I stopped coding being a tech lead on projects! But it was useful to relate my experience to how the book presented information, I felt this gave me a kick start to absorbing the later lessons. It really gives a good flavour of the many different hats that you need to wear as a PM and how that evolves as the role gets more senior.

The second section goes into more practical advice and anecdotes around the kind of leader needed for each stage of an organisation - from start-up to emerging organisation and finishing with enterprise organisations.  This is useful in being aware of which skills to develop as your organisation grows so that you aren't caught out by that growth.

The final section starts off with trust and value, before covering topics such as when to hire consultants. One bit of advice I found surprising was to hire for either short or long term engagements, so either give an injection of new skills/views or to implement a new strategy. Anything in-between is likely to lead to the partial implementation of any strategy. There is also a good discussion of the opportunity cost and value when looking at short-term vs long-term needs.

Further Reading

Should we design better products for older people?

This week I've been having a bit of think about products for an older audience, prompted by this tweet by Tom Peters ("The red bull...