Product Bookclub #8 | Marty Cagan, Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

Adrienne Tan

Another great evening at Product Book Club last week, when we got together to discuss Marty Cagan’s revised classic Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love.

Thanks Julian for always being ready to give a summary for those who haven’t read the book (and a refresher for those of us who have, or have made a wholehearted partial effort).

Should you read the second edition?

If you’ve read the first edition, the consensus in the room was that no-one felt they were re-reading material they’d read before. The underlying concepts that made Inspired a classic are still sound advice, but Marty Cagan has made good on his promise that the book was almost entirely rewritten, and updated to modern day tech Product Management.

Conversation on the night

We had a great conversation covering topics like how to incubate product thinking within an organisation, and the role of design and how PMs and designers best work together. Like most collaboration, you need to find true partnership, but especially so when both designers and PMs feel a great deal of ownership over the vision, the customer and understanding the customer’s problems and context.

There was some skepticism about the rose-tinted spectacles through which we see startups and the myth that all “best practice” product management (even Lean methods) is as generously resourced as the tech behemoths we compare ourselves to. We also heard real challenges from PMs at companies that present themselves as the shining lights of product management, and then we geeked out a little on our individual attempts to get OKRs into our orgs.

” We have these rose-tinted spectacles about startups. It’s not true. “

Key takeaways

  • Roadmaps are dead. Long live OKRs! Focus on outcomes, not features and the best way to achieve those outcomes.
  • Put your ego aside and work as a team. PMs are not the centre of the universe, there are many members in the modern tech product team.
  • Don’t chase competitors. Your customers value what’s different, not what’s the same.
  • Most product ideas don’t work. Learn to fail well by learning from failure.

What a great night, thanks for coming! Thanks to Brainmates for the beautiful space and generous catering as always. Look forward to seeing all our Product Readers at the next one in September.

Vote now for what we’ll read next:!

Adrienne Tan

Adrienne Tan | Author

Adrienne is Co-Founder and CEO of Brainmates and Co-Founder of Leading the Product. She has been championing Product Management since 2000, earning international recognition for raising the profile of the Product Management profession. In this capacity she regularly consults to the Asia-Pacific's top businesses and speaks at business and Product events around the world.

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