Product Management for Dummies

Brian Lawley, Pamela Shure

Publisher: Wiley, 2017, 366 pages

ISBN: 978-1-119-26402-6

Keywords: Product Management

Last modified: Feb. 27, 2018, 9:23 p.m.

The essential guide to seamless product management

Product Management is now considered the fourth most important role in corporate America. Yet only a fraction of PMs have been trained for their jobs. If you're a current or aspiring Product Manager, this book provides a solid foundation in the concepts, practices, and tools you need to take your career skills to the next level. It offers simple explanations of the product life cycle, market research, competitive analysis, market and pricing strategy, product road maps, brainstorming, and so much more.

    • Introduction
      • About This Book
      • Foolish Assumptions
      • Icons Used in This Book
      • Beyond the Book
      • Where to Go from Here
  • Part 1: Getting Started with Product Management
    1. Welcome to the World of Product Management
      • Understanding the Need for Product Management
      • Recognizing the Critical Role of Project Management
        • Defining product management
        • Serving as a strategic driver for business
      • Product Management in a Nutshell: Checking Out Your Day-to-Day Life
        • Managing a product during every phase of its life
        • Reaching in to your bags of tricks
    2. Getting in Character: Discovering Your Role as a Product Manager
      • Orientation Day: Examining Your Role as Product Manager
        • Checking out the job description
        • Pinpointing product management on the organizational chart
        • Drafting your product management manifesto
      • Comparing Product Management to Other Related Roles
        • Checking out product marketing
        • Looking into program management
        • Exploring project management
        • Knowing what other roles you interact with
      • Conducting a Self-Assessment: Traits of a Great Product Manager
        • Business acumen
        • Industry knowledge and expertise
        • Technical knowledge
        • People skills
        • Decision-making skills
        • Problem-solving aptitude
        • A cool head
        • Leadership chops
        • Scoring your product manager traits
      • RACI and DACI: Understanding Responsibilities
        • Going the RACI route
        • Taking a DACI direction
        • Using RACI and DACI effectively
    3. Checking Out the Product Life Cycle
      • Defining the Product Life Cycle: What It Is and Isn’t
        • Phases and gates
        • Mapping phase-gate to Agile methodologies
      • It's Just a Phase: Breaking Down the Product Life Cycle
        • Phase I: Conceive
        • Phase II: Plan
        • Phase III: Develop
        • Phase IV: Qualify
        • Phase V: Launch
        • Phase VI: Maximize
        • Phase VII: Retire
      • Detailing the Optimal Product Process
        • Taking a look at how the process works
        • Understanding the nine core elements
  • Part 2: Discovering, Evaluating, and Planning for Great Products and Services
    1. Coming Up with Great Product Ideas
      • Getting a Handle on the Creative Process
        • Exploring sources for new ideas
        • Letting your team play
      • Generating Creative Ideas: Techniques and Tips
        • Brainstorming
        • Consulting customer councils
        • Tapping the power of mind mapping
        • Trying a more structured approach: The four actions framework
    2. Working to Understand Who Your Customer Is
      • Moving from Markets to Segments
        • Defining markets and segments
        • Determining market segments
      • Harnessing the Creativity of Personas
        • What is included in a persona description
        • Developing personas
      • Making Sure You Cover All Persona Roles
      • Visiting Customers
        • Observing customer visit courtesies
        • Interviewing customers
    3. Doing Your Homework: Evaluating Your Ideas
      • Understanding the Importance of Market Research and Competitive Intelligence
        • Subdividing kinds of market research
        • Looking for the right place to start
      • Undertaking the Market Research Process
        • Spelling out the market research process
        • Asking the right questions
        • Examining market research methods
      • Studying Competitive Intelligence
        • Identifying competitors
        • Collecting all the competitive intelligence possible
        • Keeping track of the competition
      • Reality-Checking Your Ideas and Hypotheses
        • Using a simple validation process
        • An example of product validation
      • Crunching the Numbers with Financial Forecasting
    4. Prioritizing and Selecting Your Ideas
      • Prioritizing Your Ideas
        • Finding the right fit with the product-market fit triad
        • Putting business canvases to use
        • Weighing different opportunities
      • Applying Scoring Models
        • Scoring for differentiation: The Kano model
        • Scoring for efficient use of development resources: Value versus effort analysis
        • Filling out a prioritization matrix
        • Collecting ballots: Dot voting
        • Buying features
    5. Planning to Plan: Choosing a Suitable Approach
      • Adopting Planning Best Practices
        • Starting early
        • Including your team
        • Treating your plan as a living document
      • Deciding on the Right Amount of Planning
        • Comparing Lean versus in-depth planning
        • Completing the types of new products and services grid
        • Finding the right level of planning for your company's culture
        • Considering your executives' expectations
        • Evaluating investment risk
      • Streamlining the Planning Process with Lean and Simple Planning
        • Understanding the Lean approach
        • What numbers are you looking at?
        • Taking a look at a popular business model canvas
        • Being prepared to rapidly change and pivot
      • Taking a More Thorough Approach: In-Depth Planning
        • Deciding whether to document
        • Using key documents and corresponding questions
        • Estimating your time investment
    6. Developing Your Business Case
      • Making a Business Case for the New Product or Service
        • Recognizing the importance of a business case
        • Outlining your business case
        • Gathering the necessary information
      • Putting It All Together: Documenting Your Business Case
        • Part I: Executive summary
        • Part II: Problem and opportunity
        • Part III: Market landscape
        • Part IV: Competitive landscape
        • Part V: Financial and resource impact analysis
        • Part VI: Risks
        • Part VII through XI: Other sections
        • Getting buy-in for your business case
    7. Developing Your Market Strategy
      • Grasping the Importance of a Market Strategy
      • Setting Yourself Straight on Strategy Tools
        • Go-to market strategy
        • Strategy models
      • Considering Other Components of Marketing Strategy
        • Whole product offering
        • Brand promise
        • Pricing
        • Segmentation
        • Positioning
        • Naming your product
        • Messaging
      • Putting Your Market Strategy in Writing
        • Part I: Executive summary
        • Part II: Whole product offer
        • Part III: Pricing
        • Part IV: Segmentation
        • Part V: Positioning
        • Part VI: Messaging
        • Part VII: Strategy
        • Part VIII: Launch programs and activities
        • Part IX: Budget
        • Part X: Concluding sections
    8. Developing a Plan: Market Needs, Product Description, and Road Maps
      • Uncovering Market Need and Creating Product Feature Descriptions
        • The problem space
        • The solution space
        • Comparing market needs and product features
        • Keeping discussions clear
      • Documenting Market Needs
        • Questioning why "why" is so important
        • Gathering the necessary information
        • Detailing your market needs document
        • Prioritizing detailed features and market needs
      • Whipping Up a Product Feature Description
        • Outlining the product description
        • Completing the product description document
      • Plotting Your Product’s Path to Success with a Product Road Map
  • Part 3: Building and Maximizing Product Success: From Development to Retirement
    1. Shepherding a Product Idea through the Development Phase
      • Getting the Lowdown on Waterfall/Phase-Gate versus Agile Development
        • Waterfall: Measure twice, cut once
        • Agile: Plan and deliver rapidly
        • Creating theh backlog in Agile
        • Assuming typical responsibilities
      • Unlocking the Secrets of the Product Development Trade-Off Triangle
      • Maintaining Best Practices during Development
    2. Gearing up for Your Product Launch: The Qualify Phase
      • Getting Up to Speed on the Qualify Phase
        • Ensuring internal and external quality validation
        • Creating a beta plan
        • Dodging typical beta testing missiles
      • Putting a Beta Program in Place
        • Setting appropriate goals
        • Making your goals concrete
        • Recruiting participants
      • Making the Decision to Ship the Product
    3. Liftoff! Planning and Executing an Effective Product Launch
      • Unlocking the Do's and Don'ts of a Successful Product Launch
        • Understandingthe importance of first impressions
        • Detailing the elements of a successful launch
      • Setting Launch Goals
      • Checking Out Different Launch Types
        • Launches under Agile or very frequent releases
        • Easy does it: The soft launch
        • A small effort: The minimal launch
        • Going all-in: The full scale launch
        • Choosing a launch type: Key considerations
      • Running a Smooth Product Launch
        • Building your launch squad
        • Tracking milestones and ensuring accountability
        • Arming your sales team and other key stakeholders
      • Creating a Product Launch Plan
        • Recognizing the imprtance of the launch plan
        • Filling out the launch plan template
      • Validating the Plan against Your Launch Goals
    4. Maximizing Your Product’s Revenue and Profits
      • Grasping the Basics of Marketing
        • Marketing mix
        • Working with marcom and creating marketing collateral
        • Fitting into the sales and marketing funnel
        • Getting sales the tools to sell the product
        • Becoming marketing aware
      • Forecasting: A Look to the Future
        • Collecting data for forecasting
        • Making assumptions
      • Creating an Effective Marketing Plan
        • Recognizing the importance of a top-notch marketing plan
        • Outlining your marketing plan: What to include
        • Setting goals
      • Monitoring Product Success Metrics
        • Keeping tabs on the sales funnel: Leads, opportunities, and conversions
        • Examining revenues and profitability
        • Gauging market share
        • Benchmarking: Tracking against the business plan
      • Changing Course: Making Adjustments
        • Beefing up sales support
        • Enhancing the product
        • Trimming costs
    5. Retirement: Replacing a Product or Taking It off the Market
      • Deciding How to Retire a Product
        • Taking into account internal and external expectations
      • Considering Critical Factors in a Product Retirement Plan
        • Breaking down specific end-of-life issues by product type
        • Distinguishing a product's various end-of-dates
        • Checking out parts of a product retirement plan
      • Following Best Practices when Retiring a Product
  • Part 4: Becoming a Phenomenal Product Manager
    1. Cultivating Your Product Management Leadership Skills
      • Identifying Traits of an Effective Product Management Leader
      • Developing Your Leadership Style
        • Reaching for results and motivating people
        • Handling stress
        • Thinking, acting, and communicating like a leader
    2. Mastering the Art of Persuasion
      • Brushing Up on Persuasion Basics
        • Active listening
        • Convincing with the three reasons method
        • Asking for what you want — concisely
      • Getting Your Executive Team on Board
        • Drawing up an influence map
        • Building relationships with the key players
        • Talking the talk: Executive-speak
      • Winning Over Your Development Team
        • Building your credibility
        • Assessing your team and adjusting
        • Sizing up different types of developers and how to handle them
        • Fostering rapport with the team
      • Getting Sales on Your Side
        • Making it easy for sales to sell your product
    3. Getting to the Next Level in Product Management
      • Mapping Your Career Path: Setting Goals and Target Dates
        • Establishing goals
        • Building a career plan
        • Writing one-, three-, and five-year action plans
        • Remembering the favors
      • Mastering Your Market and New Technologies
        • Becoming the market and customer expert
        • Increasing your technical expertise
  • Part 5: Part of Tens
    1. Ten Common Product Launch Mistakes to Avoid
      • Failing to Plan Early Enough
      • Not Having a Sustaining Marketing Plan in Place
      • Shipping a Poor Quality Product
      • Inadequately Funding Launch
      • Underestimating the Required Marketing Exposure
      • Driving Customers to Buy Your Competitor's Products
      • Announcing Too Early
      • Not Having a Dedicated Product Review and Public Relations Program
      • Delaying Communication
      • Considering International Markets as an Afterthought
    2. Ten (Plus One) Road Maps to Help You Succeed
      • Theme-Based Product Road Maps
      • Timed Release Product Road Maps
      • Golden Feature Product Road Maps
      • Market and Strategy Road Maps
      • Visionary Road Maps
      • Competitive, Market, and Technology Trends Road Map
      • Technology Road Maps
      • Technology across Products Road Map
      • Platform Road Maps
      • Matrix Product Road Maps
      • Multiple Product Line Road Maps
    3. Ten Ways Product Managers Fail
      • Talking More Than Listening
      • Focusing Only on Features
      • Not Continuing to Learn
      • Reinventing the Wheel
      • Avoiding Seeking Help
      • Digging In and Refusing to Compromise, Ever
      • Never Visiting Customers
      • Not Owning the Whole Product
      • Adopting Agile but Losing Overall Business Focus
      • Being a Product Janitor Rather Than a Product Manager


Product Management for Dummies

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Good ******* (7 out of 10)

Last modified: Feb. 17, 2020, 1 p.m.

Manages to cover most stuff you may need to know about Product Management. OK, it is not always up-to-date, nor does it cover everything in-depth, but it gives you a very good view about what mindset and tools you may need to be a product manager (the details you must find somewhere else).

In short, a better than expected book.


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