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Marty Cagan is a phenomenon. Period. All the product enthusiasts out there would agree that he is a legend in the product management world, how did we come to that conclusion!

When we started to explore modern product management, Inspired was the very first book we read, probably the first one in its league; providing product people with practical tips on how to create products that customers love.

The book in itself is one of those few masterclasses that delivers how to structure and staff a vibrant and successful product organization, and how to discover and deliver technology products that your customers will love, I cannot stress more upon it—and that will work more often than not for your business. The book highlights the best practices of creating successful software products and explains the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them. The lessons are applicable in a range of product environments, from fledgling start-ups to large corporations.

Let us first figure out the biggest challenge faced by every tech company, any guesses?

Be it Amazon, Netflix, eBay, Microsoft, Google, or any large enterprise organization the focus lies on how to build an innovative product culture all across. It is pretty obvious to think that it is an impossible topic to cover faithfully in a single book, but somehow Marty Cagan has done it masterfully.

Why you should read Inspired?

INSPIRED distills down the essence of what author Marty Cagan has seen over his career working with most of the tech companies. The book agrees with the notion that there is no magical formula for success. We can’t google search “How to Create Tech Products Customers Love”, follow the guidelines, work hard for a few months, and have success. It just doesn’t work that way.

Let us summarize the main points of the book to give you all a quick feel of what's in store.

  • It's all about the culture! It is the most important trait for successful tech products. Before we get to the formula to create great products, we need to define the environment and framework in which those products will be built. Every company has a culture, every single one.

  • The book includes a quote by John Doerr, " We need teams of missionaries, not mercenaries." Hiring great people is a reflection of a great leader and smart people do get drawn to a great culture.

  • There is a slightly different outlook to how Inspired defines Product Managers. PM is an all-encompassing product visionary who understands the industry, the market, the landscape, competitors, and the product they are building. They analyze data, love the details, and thrive on building the best product the world has ever seen. They dig in.

  • People, teams, products, and companies must be measured by outcomes, not outputs. Completing just the product roadmap is never the goal, it won't fetch you great outcomes, but thinking about what value is produced would do.

  • The book discusses the process of developing products not on the velocity, points, burndown, or team execution, to say it simply everyone's favorite Agile, Scrum, Waterfall, Religion, Scrum masters & Agile coaches.

Key Takeaways!

These are some of the things that we've learned from this book and which have helped us understand product management in its true essence.

  • Great product managers are intelligent, focused, and “bilingual” in technology and business.

  • The real difference between building the right product vs building the product right.

  • Accessing product opportunities, half of your ideas are just not going to work & even those that do will require several iterations to get right.

  • The need to frame your product decisions because it is easy to lose sight of key decision factors or to think that everyone is on the same wavelength.

  • Product discovery is a collaboration between the product manager, interaction designer, and software architect.

  • Functionality (product requirements) and user experience design are inherently intertwined and equally important too.

Whether you’re completely new to product management or have been doing it for a number of years, we are pretty sure you’ll want to return to Inspired often as it’s mainly by having experienced the dynamics and scenarios Marty describes that you’ll genuinely appreciate his message.

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