Key members of any product development team, Product Owners act as a liaison to the user, refine the product backlog, and communicate with a company's shareholders and senior management. In this article, a top 10 books will be presented to inspire you in your evolution and improve every decision you make as your position demands it.
What is a Product Owner?
Responsible for performing the function that defines the outcome of a project, being part of the Scrum team. Its main objective is to maximize the value of a product through the management and optimization of the product backlog.
Its main responsibilities are to be a link between different areas of an organization, whatever the market, exercising communication with all stakeholders of the business, and must collaborate with Scrum teams to keep all involved informed about each stage of development of a project, including available time, failures and strategy changes.
Product Onwer needs to have skills that enable him to understand all types of feedback, both positive and negative, extracting the details that really matter to be able to create genuine interaction and increase the adoption of new products launched by the target audience. A continuous process that is challenging, also mediating consumer expectations with the demands of the company to which it operates.
Mediation of interests
Analysis of time and results
In order to be able to perform all its functions with mastery, a Product Owner needs to study and develop continuously, so here is a list of the 10 books that cannot be missed in your evolution and that also inspire eternal improvement.
The Infinite Game
This book is revealing: it clarifies the difference between mission and objectives in the conflicting and chaotic world of business. The infinite game has this name because the idea passed is perpetuation without limits in the business world, evidencing the inexistence of defined rules and neither fixed players, the players always change.
The idea offered is interesting, that it is not possible to look for a victory, because only those who manage to finish the game win, without an end there are no winners, only eternal players. The construction of the real scenario in an infinite game is well done, and it still offers five essential practices that all leaders must follow to have what the book presents as an “infinite mindset”:
A Just cause
Confidence in Your Team
Having worthy rivals
Courage to Lead
Chosen as the first on the list precisely because it opens your mind to a new vision of the reality of entrepreneurship and leadership.
The professional Product Owner: Leveraging Scrum as a Competitive Advantage
If you are at the beginning of your career or simply entered the role without ever having studied anything about it, this is the perfect book for you! Certainly, a work that includes all the work that must be performed by a Product Owner in a simple and objective way is a fact that needs a small update to keep up with the market changes that have emerged with the great focus on digital, but nothing that will spoil it. your experience. It presents several practical examples to facilitate the understanding of each of the roles performed by the occupation, mainly its place in Scrum
It won't be the book that will bring you many insights or great "AHA" moments if you have experience, so understand that it is a basic and effective book in what it proposes: to explain what a Product Owner does to laypeople who don't know yet.
User Stories Applied
Written by Mike Cohn, a major contributor to the development of Scrum, Founder of the Scrum Alliance, and also the founder of Mountain Goat Software, a consulting and training company in project management, has the property to talk about the subject.
The book addresses the problem that can arise in losing sight of the customer while getting involved in interactive product development and problem-solving. Providing a simple solution on how the Product Owner can seamlessly integrate the consumer into any product development.
Defined as “User Stories”, they are objective and simple descriptions of functionalities with the possibility of having value for people, Cohan argues that the integration of these user stories into product development increases user retention and engagement when they are presented with a mapping of these stories, connecting users and translating their needs to the project development team.
Full of questions and hands-on exercises, it's become a must-have for every Product Owner.
The Lean Startup
Eric Ries presents in his book a valuable resource not only for Product Owners of Startups, for everyone who works in a leadership role: how to make an impact, using the least amount of resources possible. Working in startups for more than 20 years, the author knows everything it takes for a professional team to know how to create products users want.
The main point of the book is the journey of the build-measure-learn feedback cycle, inserting the concept of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that buyers can test before launching, the information resulting from these tests must be analyzed efficiently using metrics clear:
Is there sufficient interest from users in the product?
Was the product used the way it was designed?
And other interesting metrics are introduced in the book.
All the processes taught will be repeated in an infinite loop to maximize cost savings.
Reversing the first question that every development team asks itself, the focus is not to know if the product can be built, but should it be built? An entire robust methodology on how to create successful products with low investment.
Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice The Work in Half The Time
A good book for the younger ones, revolutionary for those who have been around for a long time: The Art of Doing Twice The Work in Half Time presents an approach to convince the reader that it is entirely possible for lean teams, with lightweight structures, to build software high quality and in demand globally.
Jeff Sutherland makes it clear, the key to being successful in Scrum is one: embracing change. Going through several subjects such as experimentation, identification of failures, and analysis of vulnerabilities to build a strategy for continuous improvement.
Filled with real-life examples and engaging stories, it highlights how Scrum is the most important productivity tool among technology companies.
Strategize: Product Strategy and Product Roadmap Practices for the Digital Age
Written by Roman Pichler, the book is for anyone who sees their backlog always growing without pause, introducing the whole sphere of product management and ownership, almost mandatory reading for all new Product Owners in the market. Despite being aimed at beginners, people with a time of journey and experience already in the area can also benefit and improve their skills with the practical and adapted examples presented by the book for creating strategies.
How to Lead in Product Management
Aimed at improving the quality of development in product management and also in the quality of leadership, How To Lead in Product Management introduces leadership styles from different points of view, such as influencing people and entire teams, and generating trust in your team, which should be considered when making important and less impactful decisions, builds lines of thought and provides social tools to learn how to deal with debates and resolve unwanted disputes that often appear in work environments, in addition to promoting the creation and developing a continuous growth mindset.
Explaining complicated concepts that are difficult to understand in an easy way, with the aim of bringing lightness to any leadership and work environment.
Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love
You know those books that it's a pleasure to revisit whenever you can? Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love is one of these, spurring healthy inspiration and generating more creative thoughts in the reader every time they reread the book. Leader of the Silicon Valley Product Group, Marty Cagan has more than 20 years of experience when it comes to the ownership of successful products, to name a few: eBay, Netscape Communications, and AOL.
Mapping some of the most iconic names in technology such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google, its reading goes through the products created by these companies and how their use has been adopted and loved by billions of consumers around the world, telling inspiring stories of the technology market, while talk about creating strategies for your roadmap.
The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Product and Rapid Customer Feedback
A step-by-step guide teaching the practical life of the Product Owner, teaching from how to define the target audience to which the product will be offered to the result of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), how to keep everyone involved and interested in the product updated and integrated. It also reports on the various challenges and pitfalls that arise during product ideation, development and launch, teaching how to use customer feedback to solve these problems and keep innovation going.
The Scrum Guide
Finally, the most famous and well-known, it was once the most complete and necessary book for any Product Owner who wanted a successful career. Time passed, and this book no longer meets the demands that all the changes in the market and behavior of society have brought, it has become a basic and incomplete guide for the present day, full of gaps that could be addressed in organizations and improved productivity extraction in the working environments.
It is worth reading? Yes, it was placed on this list precisely because it is one of the most important books ever written on the management and ownership of products, the recommendation here is to read this work with critical thinking and visualize how the current scenario has radically transformed. Introducing these gross differences can improve any leadership's understanding of the inevitable need for improvement and behavioral changes even by project leaders.