Interviewing users is the job of your User Research team or your UX people? Maybe you want to consider diving deeper into this topic to get in direct contact with your users yourself. It can be quite eye-opening to see users using your product in action while being able to ask any question you like. Or, maybe you simply don’t have another chance and can’t rely on a sophisticated team that’s actually taking care of all research. In this case, we’ve collected the best books for you to learn how to interview users, ask the right questions and work with the insights you gathered.
Product Discovery is an essential and critical part of building successful digital products. We have to get a deep understanding of our users to build the right things. Product Discovery helps us to get this understanding by using different techniques, such as interviewing customers, extensive testing, learning from data, and continuously iterating on different ideas. A lot of great books tackle the topic of product discovery from different angles. We’ve listed the ones that helped us the most in our day-to-day work.
Make no mistake: the large increase of interface designers roles' doesn't mean we have to simplify this discipline to pushing pixels. Managing, writing, meetings, systems and behaviour change among other areas need to be designed as well. Design is, ultimately, to enable, and as such, we must focus on each touchpoint the final user is interacting with to not just making it functional but also a delight. If you're willing to take a leap in this wonderful discipline, these books will surely accompany you on the journey!
Leadership is an Art. Leadership is not about status or hierarchy. We can all be leaders by choice, for example by investing in potential and in the development of people around us. Leadership is also not a new topic in this world. There are many people who studied different leadership approaches and techniques for ages. Leadership in a digital environment might be different in some regards. We’ve collected the best books to help you with improving your leadership skills. From lateral leadership to managing people, from coaching to motivating a team — we’ve got you covered.
Building a company from scratch is always hard. Especially the unpredictableness of 2020 made it almost impossible for a lot of entrepreneurs out there to accelerate. On top of numerous standard difficulties each business faces whether they are big or little, entrepreneurs had to face the pandemic as any other business in this world. To help you with some of the more predictable challenges, we’ve collected the best books for start-ups and entrepreneurs for the new year. From classical topics around innovation and growth to personal stories from founders and innovators to personal relationships and empathy, these are the 11 must-read books for 2021:
2020 is way in but there's still some time left to read some of the books we've recommended beginning of the year. With some new publications by already established authors, great newcomers and many valuable insights from areas around testing & user experience, machine learning, team building, and communication, we have selected our top 12 books for 2020.
A consultant is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area such as business, marketing, health care, […], or any of many other specialised fields. (Wikipedia) Many consultants can relate to this definition, every changing company structures, stakeholders, industries and processes. Consultants therefore should be familiar with a vast variety of subjects, from change management to user experience to C-Level KPIs. Our list of books for consultants for 2021 covers some classics to some new discoveries in the area of agile methodology, motivation of teams and ourselves, and automation.
2020 was a tough year for all of us, but at least we can celebrate some fantastic new books that came to light during this year. Our must-read book list for 2021 provides you with some new publications by already established authors, exciting newcomers, and new content around classic Product Manager topics such as Product Leadership, working with data and Product Strategy as well as some out-of-the-box topics on learning to think like a rocket scientist or mapping the future. These are our top 12 books for 2021:
In our series "On My Shelf" we feature industry experts, product managers and people working in tech and give them a platform to share their favorite books with our community. This is the core of PM Library and directly contributes to our mission - to inspire you with the best books out there that help you build better products. We are incredibly grateful to have such a fantastic community! In 2020 we had 44 people contributing 158 different book recommendations - thank you so much!
Here are the most recommended books in 2020:
OKRs are a trending topic at the moment. A lot of companies introduced them lately or are about to adapt to the framework. Objectives and Key Results are a great way to help companies align goals and ensure everyone is working collaboratively on things that really matter. This works on a company-scale but also on a team-level. We've collected five great resources that help you understand the framework of OKRs, explain why and how they can be implemented, and give you lots of great real-life examples.
Preparation is critical when you want to get your favourite job as a Product Manager. Let's face it: Product Management is one of the hottest jobs in tech at the moment, and competition is high. Luckily, there are great books that will help you stand out from crowed and succeed in interviews. Since you can't read everything upfront, we've collected the best books for you.
Embracing experimentation demands that companies rethink what innovation means. Businesses hunger for disruptive, nonlinear innovations that introduce entirely new technologies, transform product categories, or shake up business models. But most innovations are actually humble, small improvements in the user experience or in the workflow. The following six books give you great insights for different types of experimentation challenges: how to set up your company to be able to run multiple experiments simultaneously as well as how to start implementing an experimental mindset within your team.
Growing, scaling, growth hacking, hacking growth; no matter what you call it, there’s a decisive stage of startup life that separates promise from profit, and everyone must go through it. Turning your concept into a real business requires growth, and it doesn’t come easily. How do you get real people to use your product, and continue doing so at an increasing rate? Today we’re happy to share a collection of the best books to help you grow and find traction with your startup.
Good communication is a crucial skill in our craft as Product Managers. We need to effectively communicate with our team, our bosses, our stakeholders, and of course, our users. But, many people struggle to communicate and interact with people they don't know well, speak a different language or that are just very different from themselves. Also, how do you phrase something critical? Or, how do you motivate your team through words? Effective and successful communication is a skill that everyone can learn. How about we start with some great books?
Company culture goes to the roots of an organization. It's the way how people feel about the work they do and the values they believe in. Everyone is able to influence this culture - whether it's within your team or on a large scale. There are some great books on how famous organizations built a culture that led to success, how you as a leader can set a certain culture, or how teams as a whole can shape a companies culture overall. We've listed our favorite ones!
Research is a team effort. Regardless of your job position, you'll soon or later be involved in a study for different reasons (from simple passive observation to much more active participation). Understanding and being able to conduct research are more than a soft skill nowadays in the tech world, it's a must. The theory itself won't help as it takes practice, but it's the best starting point to set the foundations of running unbiased, high-quality research. We hope this book selection serves that purpose!
Whether you want to level up your skills as a software engineer, you work as a technical Product Manager, or very closely with a team of developers, these books will help you progress in your craft. Since software engineering is a craftsmanship that is changing rapidly, it can be a bit tricky to find great reads that are not yet obsolete. However, there are some evergreens as well as newly published books that are must-reads to help you with your career.
Customers are not interested in an interaction with you, your company, or even your product. Customers need to get a job done, and they will “hire” your product to do that job. Jobs-to-be-Done is more than just a framework or exercise, but a way of thinking about how you organise yourself around, and respond to, customer needs. This collection shares the best books on Jobs-to-be-Done, so you can create products that your customers will hire.
When testing and building products, we often face that our users don’t behave the way we assumed they would — sometimes their behavior seems irrational to us. In the end, understanding how our users and customers tick is the key to success. It’s not easy to understand human behavior and neither simple to describe how humans act in certain situations and how we make decisions. Fortunately, there are a bunch of amazing books that tackle this very interesting topic. Plus, these books will not only teach you more about humans in general, but also more about yourself.
What will the world of tomorrow be like? How are technologies and the environment around us going to change in the next 30 to 50 years? These incredible books give you an excellent overview of where humanity currently stands in terms of artificial intelligence, robots, space exploration, and self-driving cars as well as the expected developments in topics like the commercialisation of genomics, 3D organ printing, eating meat without killing animals, or choosing the time of our death. Even if your current job is not closely connected to any of these topics, it might be in the future.
Whether you are in your home or at the office, during these times a lot of people struggle to manage their working hours properly. When did you take your last break? Do you have trouble focusing? Do you spend all day in Zoom calls? We've collected eight exciting books that share advice and strategies around deep-work, time management, and productivity that will help you in your work as well as personal life.
Great teamwork is more important than ever. Also, it's a huge challenge to work efficiently as a team, keep innovation and creativity on a high level and have all team-members motivated and engaged - in a lot of cases all in a remote set-up. There are some fantastic reads on how to improve your team's work by providing the right environment and setting the right direction. We've collected our top 9.
There are these books that you pick-up multiple times, these books you go back to find answers to a specific problem or when you have to deal with a particular situation. In Product Management, we face quite some challenges daily. We need to stay flexible and react quickly. Since we can’t have experienced it all before, it’s great to have books that accompany you on that journey and help you when needed. We’ve collected the books we think are essential to your success as a Product Manager on a daily basis.
Are you considering to change directions in your career? Or did you recently graduate and you are wondering what’s next? There are many reasons why you should consider becoming a Product Manager. It’s not only a fascinating field where you can make a big difference, but it’s also highly diversified. As a PM you are encountering various fields from Tech to Design, Business or Marketing. You have the joy of working with a team that is enabled to create real value for users. Short: we love Product — you should check it out, too! Only very few university programs teach you Product Management. Recently, some courses, podcasts and programs emerged that give you a deep-dive into Product. But, before you enrol in anything, it might be worth to figure out what it means to work in Product and if the role suits you and your skills. Fortunately, there are some wonderful books out there that explain the role of a Product Manager in detail and prepare you for the basics.
Once you've figured out the problems and needs of your users, it's crucial to design the solution in a way that everyone is enabled to use your product or feature. This is where a lot of companies fail. We tend to design for a world how we see it. Inclusive and accessible design should not be "nice to have" but rather a standard. The following nine books tackle this topic from different angles, showing the importance of designing your products and businesses with everyone in mind and helping you to incorporate accessibility and inclusion in your daily work.
2020 has been the year where we - the PML team - have read the most books ever. In this special collection, each PML team member wraps up 2020 by sharing their favorite book of this year with you. In the second part, we give you an outlook on what each one of us is planning to read first in 2021. 2021 will be big year for PM Library. Stay tuned - we will launch our new platform in the beginning of the year. This is also a perfect opportunity to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you all so much for your support! Josh, Fadeelah, Shane, Steffi, Alex and Lena