…and why you should take the time to actually read them.
We have compiled a list of 10 must-read books for every product owner. Our recommendations contain examples of plans, proven insights and guidance to help you make something remarkable. Each of these books have a unique approach or technique that you can tailor to your needs.
1. Impact Mapping: Making a big impact with software products and projects by Gojko Adzic
This helpful guide assists organisations in making an impact with software products and projects. This is the ideal read for any individual within a company responsible for delivering software successfully within their organisation. Learn how to create better plans and roadmaps that ensure alignment of business and delivery, and can reduce friction to change.
“Refreshing to find a booked that focuses on delivery and not on the waste of governance, e.g. backlog grooming and writing lots of stories. So enjoyed this book!!” Panadero, Amazon.com
2. STRATEGIZE Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age by Roman Pichler
If you want to create an inspiring product, then this should be next on your reading list. This book uses a wide range of proven insights and tools to help the reader in the creation of successful products. Using actionable advice and examples throughout, this book provides crucial knowledge to enable you to define a strategy that delivers a winning product.
“Roman Pichler’s latest book provides essential guidance for all product owners and anyone involved in product strategy or road mapping. I highly recommend it.” Mike Cohn, Author of Succeeding with Agile and Agile Estimating and Planning
3. Lean UX - Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
Adopting the principles of Lean UX empowers you to focus on the actual experience being designed, rather than deliverables. This book explores the collaborative effort when it comes to owning a product and working within your team. You will learn how to rapidly experiment with design ideas, validate them with real users, and continually adjust your product design based on what you learn.
“This gave me a great understanding of some of the modern concepts that our developers discuss and helps me to provide some constructive input, in context, when we discuss what the priorities are.” Mr. D. F. Watts, Amazon.com
4. Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
This best-seller focuses on making competition irrelevant, as in Kim and Mauborgne’s words ‘competing in overcrowded industries is no way to sustain high performance’. This book delivers a different way to look at the competition in your market and challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success by exploring the concept of “red vs blue ocean” markets.
“Blue Ocean Strategy is a systematic approach to finding innovative, cost-efficient, value-adding, product-market matches. Rather than starting from a completely blank slate and attempting to design a new product based on constraints as design thinking might, Blue Ocean Strategy starts from the current product & market, and asks what attributes you should increase and decrease, and chat you should borrow from substitute products.” Steven Fox, Amazon.com
5. The power of moments by Chip & Dan Heath
Chip and Dan Heath focus on how moments, even brief ones, can change and elevate us. This book focuses on how moments shape us in our personal and our work lives, and how we can utilize this to make those moments extraordinary. Chip and Dan share stories of other people creating stand out moments, ‘Filled with remarkable tales and practical insights, The Power of Moments proves we all have the power to transform ordinary experiences into unforgettable ones’.
'Beautifully written, brilliantly researched' Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of GRIT
6. Innovation games by Luke Hohmann
Who doesn’t love a good game? Especially when it could help uncover your buyer’s hidden wants, needs and desires. This is the perfect book for you to find out innovative ways of research and development for your products, and connect with your buyers on another level. You’ll master techniques that focus your efforts, reduce your costs, accelerate time to market, and ensure that the solutions you develop are the right ones. You’ll learn what each game will accomplish, why it works, and how to play it with customers.
“This is a really readable and practical book. It covers a number of games to run with customers to help you understand how to make your products better. Many of them are also suitable to use with internal teams, especially as a pre-cursor to customer sessions.I'll definitely be trying some of them out.” Caroline Gordon, goodreads.com
7.Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, Alan Smith, Trish Papadakos
This book helps combat the everyday challenges of business and creates compelling products and services that customers can’t resist. This is a great read that will teach you the processes and tools you need to create products that sell. It is all about gaining a deeper knowledge of your products, looking at patterns and growing from what hasn’t worked before. Using the same stunning visual format as the authors’ global bestseller, Business Model Generation, this sequel explains how to use the “Value Proposition Canvas” to design, test, create, and manage products and services customers want.
“Absolutely amazing. Full of workshop techniques and activities you can actually apply - and real examples.” Christopher Myhill, Amazon.com
8. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat-out unbelievable. There is so much more these days than just making a product and advertising it, but making something so remarkable people can’t help but share it. This book suggests throwing a ‘purple cow’ into the mix or in other words something truly unmissable. This is the attitude any product owner and the team should have when creating something for their customers. The premise of Purple Cow is that it is safe to be risky, especially in the changing market. This book supports and guides you into creating something worth talking about.
“A LOT of good advice with evidence and study cases in this book. I totally recommend it for people interested in business, sales and marketing.” Ahmad, goodread.com
9. Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity by David Allen
Managing demands of your team as a product owner can be tricky and stressful, however this book gives effective advice to manage this productively. It is all about finding a balance and setting yourself goals that you can achieve without overworking yourself. This book shares important perspectives for the workplace and delivers a new way of thinking when it comes to handling tasks. The idea is simple; our productivity depends on our ability to relax.
“This is the best Self-Help Productivity book ever written. Well, I think so and I’ve been using it for 13 years. It has had such a profound impact on my working life that to this day, it is a part of my daily practice” Peter, goodread.com
10. Product Mastery: From Good To Great Product Ownership by Geoff Watts
This book is ideal for anyone involved in agile product development and reveals valuable insights from others. It takes examples from inspiring product owners and how they have taken their product from good to great. The ideas in place are there to help other people learn and succeed through methods and case studies. The 3 main things you will learn from this book are; what being a great product owner entails, the soft skills required to be a great product owner and case studies of success. This is a follow up from Watts bestseller ‘Scrum’ and he is now solely focusing on the challenges of a product owner.
"Product Mastery is a great book to read if you want to understand how a great Product Owner works. Whether you are hiring a Product Owner or want to be a great Product Owner, the insights that Geoff Watts shares in this book should be your guide.” Jeff Sutherland, Co-Creator of Scrum and author of Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice The Work in Half the Time
The CIO’s Guide to Mobile Apps
Our bonus book this month is The CIO’s Guide to Mobile Apps, our free to download eBook.
In this eBook, we explore 5 essential pillars to create a best in class mobile app. The insights within this eBook are based on our previous work and experience with companies such as Heathrow Airport, P&O Ferries and Confused.com. We combine insights and best practices gathered from thought leadership, expert interviews and our own work with clients to summarise what makes an outstanding mobile app.
Click here to download for free!