Top 75+ Resources for Product Managers
I'm often asked what's the best way for a new product manager to learn the fundamentals of the role or for an experienced product manager to continue to master their craft. Most folks are looking for a pointer to a book or a class they can take on product management, but I always reply with a collection of blog posts from practitioners sharing their best practices. I still believe these remain the very best resources on the topic. So I wanted to share the collection of posts I've curated over the years from incredible practitioners, writers, and thought leaders across the industry both in and outside of product roles.
I've organized this collection into several sections, starting with product management 101. I then break down the resources into the way I think about what a product manager does, which is drive the vision, strategy, design, and execution of their product. Each section covers the best practices for each of these four dimensions of product management. I then have a section on product leadership, which is important for all product managers, but especially for senior folks looking to advance in their career. And finally, I include a set of resources for managing a career in product management. In order to provide a comprehensive resource, I've included a few of my best posts at the bottom of each section.
The best way to take advantage of this collection is to dedicate 10-20 minutes each day to read through a post or two and work your way through the whole collection. Once you have you'll undoubtedly have a deep understanding of the role and what it takes to be a great product manager.
The following section includes posts that cover the fundamentals of what product management is, what the role entails, and gives you a high-level understanding of the skills you need to succeed as a product manager.
- Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager - Ben Horowitz
- Let’s talk about Product Management - Josh Elman
- How to Hire a Product Manager - Ken Norton
- Be a Great Product Leader - Adam Nash
- PM at Microsoft - Steve Sinofsky
- What Distinguishes the Top 1% Product Managers from the top 10%? - Ian McAllister
- Essentials of Product Management - Janna Bastow
- The Art of Product Management - Sachin Rekhi
One of the key responsibilities of a product manager is to define, articulate, and evangelize the vision for their product. A compelling vision articulates how the world will be a better place if you succeed. I've found the best way for a product manager to learn to develop a vision is to immerse yourself in a collection of compelling product visions as inspiration for your own. Below is a collection of my favorite vision statements from a variety of successful technology companies over the years.
- Amazon.com - Shareholder Letter, 1997 - Jeff Bezos
- Google - The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, 1998 - Larry Page & Sergey Brin
- Tesla - The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan, 2006 - Elon Musk
- Apple - iPhone Introduction, 2007 - Steve Jobs
- Slack - We Don't Sell Saddles Here, 2013 - Stewart Butterfield
- AngelList - Startups are Here to Save the World, 2013 - Naval Ravikant
- Hooked - How We Got 10 Million Teens to Read Fiction on Their Phones, 2017 - Prerna Gupta
Another incredibly important aspect for product managers to master is defining and iterating on your product's strategy. A compelling strategy details exactly how you'll dominate your market and is constantly refined until you find product/market fit. This collection of posts cover many dimensions of putting together a compelling strategy for your product.
- The only thing that matters - Marc Andreessen
- All Revenue is Not Created Equal: The Keys to the 10X Revenue Club - Bill Gurley
- Distribution - Ben Horowitz
- The Amazon Tax - Ben Thompson
- Product > Strategy > Business Models - Fred Wilson
- Not all good products make good businesses - Des Traynor
- Come for the tool, stay for the network - Chris Dixon
- Taking the wrong lesson from Uber - Sarah Tavel
- What is Good Product Strategy? - Melissa Perri
- Niche to Win, Baby - Dave McClure
- Why it's nice to compete against a large, profitable company - Jason Cohen
- Distribution vs Innovation - Alex Rampell
- A Lean Alternative to a Business Plan: Documenting Your Product/Market Fit Hypotheses - Sachin Rekhi
Design is the third critical dimension of product management. A compelling product design delivers a useful, usable, and delightful experience to your customers. A product manager complements the work of the designers they work closely with by facilitating customer research, generating and prioritizing a roadmap, gathering and spec'ing functional requirements, and everything in between. This collection of essays sheds light on each of these aspects of the product manager's role in designing great products.
- Themes: A Small Change to Product Roadmaps with Large Effects - Jared M. Spool
- Babe Ruth and Feature Lists - Ken Norton
- Using The Kano Model To Prioritize Product Development - Martin Eriksson
- Position, Position, Position! - Ryan Singer
- On Writing Product Specs - Gaurav Oberoi
- Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done” - Clay Christensen
- Working Backwards - Werner Vogels
- If your product is Great, it doesn't need to be Good - Paul Buchheit
- Building Products - Julie Zhuo
- Crafting The First Mile Of Product - Scott Belsky
- Bad Managers Talk, Good Managers Write - Walter Chen
- UX Crash Course: 31 Fundamentals - Joel Marsh
- The Hierarchy of Engagement - Sarah Tavel
- How Technology Hijacks People's Minds - from a Magician and Google's Design Ethicist - Tristan Harris -
- 10 Things I've Learned About Customer Development - Cindy Alvarez
- Product Designers: Artists of the Intangible - Chrys Bader
- 1 hour of research saves 10 hours of development time - Joshua Porter
- Product Reviews - Avichal Garg
- How to Design Your Customer Validation to Maximize Product/Market Fit - Sachin Rekhi
- Designing Your Product's Continuous Feedback Loop - Sachin Rekhi
The final but most important dimension of product management is execution. Relentless execution ultimately determines whether you'll make your vision a reality. This involves everything from core project management responsibilities, to leveraging analytics for making data-driven decisions, to leading the overall R&D team, and so much more. This collection of essays provides an overview of each of these execution activities.
- 16 Startup Metrics - Jeff Jordan
- Metrics Versus Experience - Julie Zhuo
- The only metric that matters - Josh Elman
- Everything a product manager needs to know about analytics - Simon Cast
- Speed as a Habit - Dave Girouard
- Putting on the shipping goggles - Jason Fried
- A Minimum Viable Product Is Not a Product, It's a Process - Jim Brikman
- Truly Great Products are Built by People Who Say Yes - Jonathan Sherman-Presser
- Peacetime PM / Wartime PM - Noah Weiss
- How to Work With Engineers - Julie Zhuo
- This is the product Death Cycle. Why it happens, and how to break out of it - Andrew Chen
- Great Products Don’t Happen By Accident - Jon Lax
- The Right Way to Ship Software - Jocelyn Goldfein
- The Only Silver Bullet - Christina Wodtke
- The Three Skills of a Great PM - Bubba Murarka
- Modern Project Management for Product Managers - Sachin Rekhi
- The Art of Decision Making as a Product Manager - Sachin Rekhi
Product management is ultimately a leadership role amongst the product development team and developing your leadership skills is tantamount to success in the role. These essays touch upon some of the unique aspects of product leadership.
- Don't create a sense of urgency, foster a sense of purpose - Kimber Lockhart
- What Product VPs at High-Growth Startups Have in Common - Mike Belsito
- The Job of Leadership - Ev Williams
- The VP of Product vs the Product Manager - Ellen Chisa
- Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox - Ben Horowitz
- The Importance of Benevolent Dictators - Mark Suster
- How to be a Great Product Leader - Sachin Rekhi
- The Most Underrated Product Management Skill: Influence Without Authority - Sachin Rekhi
A Career in Product Management
Starting and then navigating a career in product management still remains fairly amorphous for many. These essays dive into the details of getting your first product management role and ultimately developing a career path.
- Find, Vet and Close the Best Product Managers - Todd Jackson
- PM Interviews - Jackie Bavaro
- Getting to "technical enough" as a product manager - Lulu Cheng
- Founder/market fit - Chris Dixon
- 3 Types of Product Managers: Builders, Tuners, Innovators - Sachin Rekhi
- Product Management Career Ladders at 8 Top Technology Firms - Sachin Rekhi
I've tried to curate this list to include the very best content I've found on product management, but I'm sure I've missed many great posts. So please send me a note with any of your favorites for potential inclusion.
Enjoyed this essay?
Get my weekly essays on product management & entrepreneurship delivered to your inbox.
Jun 26, 2017