Announcing The Secret Product Manager Handbook

I’m excited to announce The Secret Product Manager Handbook is available!

When I started in product management, there were no classes, books, or online resources for product managers. I always wanted the “secret handbook” – so I wrote it. The Secret Product Manager Handbook is all the things I wish someone had told me.

I wrote a book for people like me (and you?)

I provide a simple yet powerful framework for thinking about product management. The process of finding and validating market problems, creating solutions to those problems, and taking the solutions to market. (Readers of this blog have seen this before, of course.)

To make it even shorter, “We find market problems, create solutions to the problems, and take the solutions to market.”

This captures the meaning of, for example, “we’re the intersection of business, technology, and user experience.” But it’s simple and clear enough that your parents can understand it.

Market problems are the underlying organizing principle

The core idea of the book is the focus on “market problems.” If you’re oriented to the market problem, a lot of other things take care of themselves. Or at least they are easier, or you get better results.

In fact, I saw a Pragmatic Marketing poll the other day. Most product managers say “discovering and validating market problems is our most important job as product managers.” At the same time, they complain “we don’t spend enough time discovering and validating market problems.”  We understand we should be doing it more, but we aren’t.

Contents and structure

A mockup of a physical version of The Secret Product Mananager Handbook, with a spiffy cover design.

The Secret Product Manager Handbook

The book is organized around this framework. The first section introduces the framework. And other useful information about product management as a discipline and practice.

The next three sections each focus on one component of the framework.

  • Finding and validating market problems.
  • Creating solutions to the problems.
  • Taking the solutions to market.

Throughout I provide concrete steps you can take to put the ideas into practice. (If you’ve heard my podcast or read my blog you might recognize those “three things you can do today to put these ideas into practice.” I got that from the great Brian Tracy, a fantastic business and self-improvement guru. I’ve listened to his audio programs for decades.)

I provide checklists and scorecards for assessing how you’re doing. It’s valuable to know there are obstacles to success, so in each section I list out key obstacles. And I give you ways to get around those obstacles.

To learn more

To learn more about The Secret Product Manager Handbook, check out the book trailer (inserted above, as well). Download a sample chapter. Or simply go ahead and order your own copy.

  • Thank you for writing this, Nils. Wish I’d had this when I started out. Can’t wait to dig into it.

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