We all know that the best way to learn Product Management is hands on experience. But it is also truth that is possible to avoid the same mistakes others made, especially when they’ve written books or recorded podcasts to tell you how to avoid them. These are the courses, books, blogs, videos and podcasts that helped me bring my Product Management career to the next level:
A) Part-time courses. The following courses are the ones that made the most impact on my PM performance:
- Product Management, General Assembly gives a good overview of the typical product manager’s tasks throughout the product lifecycle. It includes a lot of practical exercises and there’s a final course project. If you I was located in USA, I would have probably attended Productschool.com which is the first school I am aware of focused on Product Management trainning.
- User Experience Design, General Assembly helped me understand how important UX is and what it’s made of. Also made me able to handle the information architecture and wireframing of complex web platforms.
I really enjoy attending these 10 week part time courses. Although they are quite pricy, it is a really good way to spend time with likeminded peers in your city and learn the best practices from top professionals.
B) Product related books.If you’re not up for taking a course right now, or you are and want to make the best of it, go with any or all of the books below.
- The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses. This book will make an even bigger impact if you follow it up with the workshop Lean Startup Machine which will help you consolidate the learnings through practice.
- Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love. Most PMs start their career in large companies and it would be helpful if you knew how innovations are implemented in those companies and what’s really important for them and their clients.
- Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter). This is a really good introduction to User Testing, which is one of the main parts of User Research.
- The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback. If the Leans Startup book explains what and why, the Lean Product Playbook explains how – and you have to know how.
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products is a great book for those PMs who deal with mobile consumer applications. It explains how to build state of the art habit forming products.
- Agile Product Management with Scrum: Creating Products That Customers Love. This book is a good guide for all those PMs dealing with a Scrum team.
- Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want. This book is the Lean Startup equivalent for B2B products. If you’re in the B2B industry, it’s definitely worth reading.
- It’s Our Research: Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects, gives you new perspectives on researches and how they should be performed.
C) Entrepreneurship related books. Product Managers must be very self-driven and goal oriented, which means they are mostly entrepreneurs at heart. The following books inspired me as an entrepreneur and helped me take charge and better handle the daily challenges in my PM role:
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
- Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
- Good To Great
- Outliers: The Story of Success
- The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
- Raising Venture Capital for the Serious Entrepreneur
- The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups
- Slicing Pie: Fund Your Company Without Funds
- The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
- …and more: Screw work let´s play, The Money Gym, Rich Dad Poor Dad (and all Robert T. Kiyosaki book series), more on this Amazon list
D) Online courses. The following courses reinforced and built on the knowledge gained on the part time courses I listed above.
- Hardvard CS50: Introduction to Computer Science, ideal for non-software engineers like myself, this free online course offers you the gist of what a computer science degree would teach you.
- UXTrainning.com is a course that helps you consolidate your UX knowledge and apply it better.
- Hubspot Academy where you will learn the fundamentals of inbound marketing.
E) Other Videos and audios:
- Ycombinator podcast on Soundcloud
- Startup Class by Y Combinator´s President Salt Altman
- I also collected this list on Youtube with 70+ videos.
F) Blogs and forums to keep an eye on:
- Product Hunt daily curated apps feed
- Hacker News
- Paul Graham´s Essays funder notes
- Quora topic on Product Management
- Silicon Valley Product Group Newsletter
- Mind The Product blog
G) Networking with peers:
- Meetups in London: Product Tank meetup, Lean Startup Circle London meetup, The Product Group London. There must be very similar groups in your city if you search in MeetUp or other local websites.
- Slack groups: mindtheproduct.slack.com, product-school.slack.com
- Mentorship: I had a few sessions with the OpenTable Head of Products and they were very useful to me. I met him through the CTO of my company who had worked with him previously. Consider asking a colleague to recommend a PM external to your organization to mentor you.
When there is no official Product Management degree, nor a clear career path for someone interested in becoming on, you have to take the initiative and learn by yourself. I hope the above resources give you good ideas to keep learning.