Top 10 Posts on Product Management from the Industry's Best


I thought I'd follow up my recent post on What is Product Management? with a summary of ten of the most informative and inspiring posts I've come across on the role from some of the greatest product leaders in the industry. I consider these must reads for any product manager looking to understand different perspectives on product and excel in their career in product management.

Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager - Ben Horowitz
This timeless piece from Ben Horowitz when he was Director of Product Management at Netscape in 1996 is as relevant today as it was then. Instead of simply describing the role and responsibilities of a product manager, he contrasts how a great product manager acts compared to one who is not.

Be a Great Product Leader - Adam Nash
While Adam Nash and I didn't overlap when we were both at LinkedIn, his reputation precedes him as a strong product leader and evangelist for the role. In this summary post Adam breaks down being a great product leader to three core responsibilities: product strategy, prioritization, and execution.

PM at Microsoft - Steven Sinofsky
As I mentioned in my previous post, I learned the fundamentals of product management at Microsoft. And Steven Sinofksy was considered one of the strongest product managers, general managers, and eventual executive leaders in the organization. Steven details the origin of the role at Microsoft, the four core responsibilities of product managers (learn, convince, spec, refine), and the attributes that make a great product manager.

What distinguishes the top 1% of product managers from the top 10%? - Ian McAllister
Ian McAllister from Amazon put together this great answer on Quora for what distinguishes the very best product managers. He identifies some of the most critical skills needed to excel in the role, like thinking big, communication, simplifying, prioritizing, execution, and more. Yet clearly understands how difficult it is for a single person to excel at all of these responsibilities, making the very best those that can do well with as many of these as possible.

How to Spot the Five-Tool Superstar - Jeff Weiner
While not originally authored to represent the skills of a great product manager, Jeff Weiner's post on the five tools of a superstar apply exceptionally well to the role. Technology vision, product sensibility, business acumen, leadership, and resourcefulness are critical skills for the best product leaders in any organization.

The CEO as Chief Editor - Jack Dorsey
I often talk about the product role as being the CEO of your product. And so while Jack Dorsey specifically talks about the role of the CEO, it's thus equally applicable to product managers. Jack's product work on both Twitter and Square makes him one of the strongest product minds of our time and his thoughts on his role as chief editor are critical for the success of any product manager.

What I Learned Building Medium (So Far) - Ev Williams
Jack's co-innovator at Twitter, Ev Williams, has been another contemporary product visionary in publishing with Blogger, Twitter, and now Medium. In this post Ev shares some of his thoughts on the challenges of designing a product given his recent experiences with Medium.

The Pmarca Guide to Startups, part 4: The only thing that matters - Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen has been an important fixture in the technology industry for over two decades and is one of the smartest minds I've ever come across. One of the most elusive concepts that a product manager responsible for new product development must understand is achieving product\market fit. This concept was first popularized by Marc in this original post on the very idea.

The product manager's lament - Eric Ries
Modern product development has been evolving from the initial waterfall methods that were popular for shrink-wrapped software development to more agile methodologies that are being leveraged by ever evolving Internet application development. This has resulted in significant tension between the old standards of product management and the new way to thrive in this modern world. Eric Ries posts on this issue and some of the common challenges he has come across with this evolution.

How to hire a product manager - Ken Norton
Ken Norton from JotSpot and Google put together this great post on what he specifically looks for when hiring a product manager. He covers the need for intellect, technical background, product instincts and creativity, leadership, coalescing multiple points of view, and shipping experience.
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