These are some of the books we mention in our workshops and coaching sessions.
On Products and Product Management
Look Beyond the Product: The business of agile product management by Steve Johnson of Under10 Playbook. Today’s agile development methods are great but don’t miss the forest for the trees. You still need a vision, a roadmap, and clarity of team roles to succeed. Look Beyond the Product explains what today’s executives need to know about agile development methods and the business of managing products.
Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan is a good start for anyone planning to be a product manager. Cagan explains the challenges, the methods and approaches, and uses real-life examples to help drive his concepts.
The Product Manager's Desk Reference by Steven Haines. Need to do a competitive SWOT analysis? See page 166. Need a strategic plan? It's there too. Particularly for new product managers, this is the source for practical methods. You won't read this; it's not that kind of book. Instead, you'll keep it handy for when you need a template or method that's new to you.
The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management by Tom DeMarco. Imagine a management book wrapped in a novel. Our hero has been kidnapped to run a software venture, with too many resources. What to do? Run a series of experiments with teams that are too small and too large to see which are most productive. This is a fun read for product managers, development managers, and people managers.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Implementing change in your organization? You need to understand the three forces of change: the driver; the elephant, and the path. (Don’t worry; it makes sense in the book).