“Product Management in Practice” by Matt LeMay, 2nd edition
This book was a recommendation from an AutoScout24 colleague, who attended the Mind the Product conference in 2022 in Hamburg. It has a fair amount of high-level general advice, like that “best practices” bring the false promise of fairy-tale results (p.104), talking to your users is a skill that takes time and makes you a better Product Manager [PM] (p. 89) and that every decision is a trade-off (p. 184). On the other hand, it gives a great overview of the PM CORE – communication, organization, research and execution – competences (p.17), clarifies the meaning of fancy words like product strategy (p.161) and is full of great communication (p.105) and work-from-home tips (p.202). “Product Management in Practice: A Practical, Tactical Guide For Your Fist Day and Every Day After” is a nice read that for sure is worth your time and money.
What was great
You get plenty of real-life examples from other PMs in different industries and career stages. In addition, you can find many articles, videos, newsletters directly cited within this book and even a further reading list (p. 251)
Every chapter of the book is independent and includes a summary with the quick advise at the end. That is, you can jump to specific topics that you are most interested about.
I would personally recommend checking out following chapters:
- The Art of Egregious Overcommunication
- The CORE skills of Product Management
- Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategy, and Other Fancy Words
- “Data, Take the Wheel!”
- Try this at Home: The Trials and Tribulations of Remote Work In each one of them I found something that I did not know and found useful.
For example, using “Disagree and Commit” approach (p. 105) has already saved me a lot of time at work. I use it both in meetings as well as in email conversations. This approach is rather simple but powerful: instead of misinterpreting silence or a generic “looks fine” for a commitment, ask each stakeholder for an affirmative commitment.
In practice that can be rather uncomfortable – you have to ask each participant of the call one by one to commit on a decision to deliver implementation estimates by [date], or you have to add lines like these in the email to your VP of Product or Team Leads:
Please review and confirm if you’re committed to the proposed approach? If I won’t hear back from you by [date], I would assume that you have questions / concerns with the approach and reach out to you one more time.
At the same time you spot objections and problems early and start fixing them faster.
“Product Management in Practice” by Matt LeMay is a great addition to your PM bookshelf and actually helps you directly at work. While there are some general advice which you’ve likely heard before, author managed to add plenty of useful tips that will save you time and nerves.