"Inspired" Book Writeup

July 02, 2011

What’s the point?
The book has tons of practical advice and techniques for creating software products. The main point is that great software begins by first discovering whether it will be feasible, usability and provide value to the customer. Cagan also highlights the major differences between product and project managers.

How was it?
There were some good takeaways from this book. Probably most valuable are all the external resources that are made available on the Silicon Valley Product Group website; there are sample personas, product road maps, prototypes and more that allow you to see concrete implementations of the ideas discussed in the book.

There wasn’t much fluff, which was a nice surprise. When I opened a chapter on User Testing, I was expecting a simple description and an empathetic You should do this!. But instead there was sample dialogue and really applicable advice on subtle topics like not “leading” the test subject and how to quickly iterate between tests.

There are definitely some lessons that can be applied to custom software development as well. I think the idea of having the PM and designers be one/two iterations ahead of the dev team is a really great idea and could improve my own team’s project. I felt that the focus on building scalable architecture and routinely taking time to pay down technical debt is also important too.

I think this book is a good candidate for a book club and I will propose it for the next one at SEP.

Who should read it?
Anyone who is interested in becoming a Product Manager or working on a software product team will learn a lot from the book.

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