Top 100 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 in Notejoy 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 explore growth, which is essential to make any product successful. I go on to include 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 - Steven Sinofsky
- What Distinguishes the Top 1% Product Managers from the top 10%? - Ian McAllister
- Good Product Managers, Great Product Managers - Shreyas Doshi
- Video: The Art of Product Management - Sachin Rekhi
- The Top 10 Deliverables of Product Managers - Sachin Rekhi
One of the key responsibilities of a product manager is to define 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 articulate a vision is to immerse themselves in a collection of compelling product visions as inspiration for their own. Below is a collection of my favorite vision narratives from a variety of successful technology companies over the past two decades.
- Amazon.com - Shareholder Letter, 1997 - Jeff Bezos
- Google - The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, 1998 - Larry Page & Sergey Brin
- PayPal - Speech to Employees, 1999 - Peter Thiel
- Tesla - The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan, 2006 - Elon Musk
- Apple - iPhone Introduction, 2007 [Video] - Steve Jobs
- Bitcoin - A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, 2008 - Satoshi Nakamoto
- Slack - We Don't Sell Saddles Here, 2013 - Stewart Butterfield
- LinkedIn - The Economic Graph, 2015 [Video] - Jeff Weiner
- Lyft - The Third Transportation Revolution, 2016 - John Zimmer
- Blue Origin - Going to Space to Benefit Earth, 2019 [Video] - Jeff Bezos
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
- How to tell if you have product/market fit - Merci Victoria Grace
- How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit - Rahul Vohra
- 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
- Platforms vs Verticals and the Next Great Unbundling - Jeff Jordan
- How to Kickstart and Scale a Marketplace Business - Lenny Rachitsky
- A Lean Alternative to a Business Plan: Documenting Your Product/Market Fit Hypotheses - Sachin Rekhi
- A Primer on Business Strategy From Hamilton Helmer's 7 Powers - 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 Prioritize a Product Roadmap - Sachin Rekhi
- The Hierarchy of User Friction - Sachin Rekhi
- Video: Developing a 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
- Development Cadence - Megan Quinn
- Modern Project Management for Product Managers - Sachin Rekhi
- The Art of Decision Making as a Product Manager - Sachin Rekhi
- A Leader's Guide to Metrics Reviews - Sachin Rekhi
We can't simply build a product and hope users will come. Instead, we need to take a systematic approach to attracting the right users to our product and continually optimize our experiences to deliver value to those users faster. These essays explore exactly how to go about building your product's growth engine.
- What's next in growth? - Andrew Chen
- Product Channel Fit Will Make or Break Your Growth Strategy - Brian Balfour
- What Are Growth Teams For, and What Do They Work On? - Casey Winters
- The Growth Pyramid Revisited - Sean Ellis
- Indispensable Growth Frameworks from My Years at Facebook, Twitter and Wealthfront - Andy Johns
- Video: How we put Facebook on the Path to 1 Billion Users - Chamath Palihapitiya
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
- The Three Responsibilities of Product Leadership - Jens-Fabian Goetzmann
- The Most Underrated Product Management Skill: Influence Without Authority - Sachin Rekhi
- The Art of Being Compelling as a Product Manager - Sachin Rekhi
- How to be a Great Product Leader - 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 navigating a career path.
- PM Interviews - Jackie Bavaro
- Getting to "technical enough" as a product manager - Lulu Cheng
- Find, Vet and Close the Best Product Managers - Todd Jackson
- 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
- Finding Product Culture Fit - Sachin Rekhi
Want to accelerate your product career?
I've finally distilled my 15+ years of product experience into a new course designed to help PMs master their craft. Join us for the Fall cohort of Mastering Product Management.
Enjoyed this essay?
Get my monthly essays on product management & entrepreneurship delivered to your inbox.
Jun 26, 2017