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Product Management Training & Consulting

Book Review: Expert Product Management

Those new to product management often spend most of their time on a few areas — researching market needs, developing business cases, writing requirements, monitoring development projects. Though these are indeed crucial aspects of the product manager role, there are many other responsibilities that often get overlooked. Not surprisingly, these are the areas for which there are often fewer resources available, so product managers may feel as if they have to “go it alone.”

Luckily, Expert Product Management succinctly covers four crucial areas which can improve a product’s success. Brian Lawley provides clear, practical advice on Product Roadmaps, Beta Programs, Product Launches, and Review Programs — the value of any one of these sections alone can justify the reasonable price.

Each section begins with an explanation of the concept and its importance, then covers examples of different approaches and best practices. The writing style makes it easy to read from cover-to-cover and also easy to refer to as a reference. Don’t let the size fool you
— at under 100 pages, this can easily be read on a short plane ride
— yet there is sufficient depth to the information contained within to make it practical and actionable.

The chapter on Product Roadmaps is especially comprehensive and useful. Brian describes six different types of roadmaps — even experienced product managers will likely discover one they were not aware of here — and presents an easy-to-follow eight step process for creating your own roadmap. Similar level of detail is provided in the other sections — enough information that the reader can use it as a guide to implementing on the job, though not so much to make it laborious to read or hard to locate later for answers to specific questions.

If there is any flaw in the book, it is that the design of the book itself does not do enough to support the high-quality content. The text and graphics are clear and easy to read, yet a more compelling design could have enhanced the text even further. This is a minor quibble, though, since it is still a very useful resource regardless.

As the name implies, this book may not be the best complete introduction to those new to product management, though that is clearly not its intent. For experienced product managers who have mastered the basics and are looking to take their job to the next level, Expert Product Management is a highly recommended guide which can help already good product managers to better plan, create, and launch a successful new product.

Jeff Lash
Author, How To Be a Good Product Manager

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