Making It Right: Product Management For A Startup World (eBook)

Making It Right: Product Management For A Startup World (eBook)

Product management is one of the most exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, and rewarding careers out there. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s for people who want to move mountains. It swallows some whole, but others derive endless invigoration and passion from the pace and the impact and the glory and the huge potential for failure as well as success. There’s no other job like it, and this is a book to help you make it your job.

Written by Rian van der Merwe.
Design by Francisco Inchauste and Anna Shuvalova.
193 pages. PDF, ePUB and Amazon Kindle. July 2014.


The main purpose of this book is to help product managers who work specifically with digital projects build better — less complex, more focused, less long-winded and more intelligent — products. By featuring lessons learned from real-life projects, the book provides a structured framework for strategic product management — to help build the right products, at the right time, for the right people with just the right amount of process involved.

The book isn’t concerned with abstract models and theoretical concepts. If your company has to address these issues or you’re looking for a hands-on guide through product management, that’s the book just for you. With this in mind, the book wants to accomplish three goals:

  • Define the roles and responsibilities of product managers in the software development context.
  • Explain why product management is an essential role in any organization, and what characteristics managers should look for when they hire product managers.
  • Provide a framework and practical guidance for strategic product management; a framework that details the elements of product planning and product execution that make up a product manager’s day-to-day work.


  • Part 1: Introduction
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 1: Roles And Responsibilities Of The Product Manager
  • Part 2: Planning
    • Chapter 2: Uncovering Needs
    • Chapter 3: Product Discovery
    • Case Study: The User Experience Of
    • Chapter 4: Product Roadmaps
  • Part 3: Execution
    • Chapter 5: Defining A Product
    • Chapter 6: User-Centered Design And Workflows
    • What About Responsive Design?
    • Chapter 7: Specifications
    • Chapter 8: Build And Release
    • Chapter 9: Assess And Iterate
    • Chapter 10: Product Management In Agile Methodologies
    • Chapter 11: Getting Started

Technical Information

  • Formats: PDF, EPUB, Kindle (DRM-free)
  • Pages: 193
  • Language: English
  • Released: July 2014
  • Publisher: Smashing Magazine GmbH
  • ISBN (Print/PDF): 978-3-94454084-9
  • ISBN (EPUB): 978-3-94454082-5
  • ISBN (KINDLE): 978-3-94454083-2

Excerpt From Chapter 5

Defining A Product — by Rian van der Merwe

It’s important to differentiate between a problem definition and a specification. A problem definition is a short statement of the problem you’re trying to solve. A specification explains how to solve the problem. If the product planning section taught us anything, it’s the importance of keeping the problem you’re solving front and center at all times. That’s why it’s so important to break up ideas into problem definitions first, before starting to work on solutions (or hypotheses in the context of lean methodologies), so that you don’t lose sight of the problem that’s being solved.

A good way to write problem definitions is to use a format similar to user stories in agile development. I call these problem stories: [user] has [problem] when [trigger] . For example, a PM on a financial services product might have a problem definition that states: “Investors are not able to submit supporting documents online when they need to make changes to client portfolios.” That becomes a statement of the problem that needs to be solved through product improvements. The addition of the trigger element also ensures that you remain focused on the cause of the action that users need to take to find the product useful.

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