Good Product Management Volume 1
In my last update I spoke about creating a newsletter. My intention was to use it to chunk-up the drafting process. This worked well. I’ve published 15,000+ words of draft ideas and content. It’s gone beyond writing down what I know already and helped me to learn new things. The act of writing down my stories for an audience forced me to think in a sustained way. Often the newsletter episode was the beginning of thinking that I then took further and came to new conclusions.
One example was capability. I realised I’d never given serious thought to what I meant by skills and behaviours. How are they different to each other? This sparked some research and tweaking and led to a model for thinking about how our overall capability is linked to our specialist skills and general behaviours, helped by knowledge from others and improved through practice, practice, practice. This will help me tie together a bunch of stuff that’s felt loose and unclear until now, so it should be more valuable for others. This is just one example amongst many. The published episodes are often the tip of the iceberg of the thinking they helped me with.
The newsletter also helped me to think about the scope, structure, and format of the book.
I’ve reduced the scope of my book to keep my motivation high and check that it’s of interest to people. I’ve got the bones of a book on ‘hands-on’ product management already, thanks to the newsletter. I had planned to include product leadership in the book too but now decided to leave this out. It’s already taken me a year and a bunch of effort to get this far, I don’t know if my motivation will last another year before having something tangible to show for it. It’s also a good nudge to get something out there and see what the reaction is. I’m thinking of self-publishing a limited run (100-200 copies?) of Good Product Management Volume 1, focussing on ‘hands on’ product management.
Current thinking is that I’ll work on Volume 2: Product Leadership in 2021/2022. There’s good reason not to rush. Firstly, I’m a new parent and return to work in 2021. I’ve got other priorities and time will be tight. Added to this, my product leadership journey continues and it looks like I’ll have some cool opportunities coming up in 2021. I reckon they’ll stretch me and see me develop. So I should have more to share in the future.
Structure for Good Product Management Volume 1 likely to be:
- Introduction including note on format of book (based on original signup message)
- Chapter 1: Product principles (based on episode 1 of newsletter)
- Chapter 2: Description of good product management where people are put before profit (based on episode 3 of newsletter)
- Chapter 3: Product strategy and tactics (based on episode 6 of newsletter)
- Chapter 4: Product management capability (including skills based on episode 4 of newsletter and behaviours based on episode 5)
- Chapter 5: Getting into product management (to do)
- Conclusion: To do
Format for each chapter:
- Main guidance to takeaway and use (for people skimming or revisiting)
- Context explaining how guidance emerged, as how it is figured out is sometimes more useful than what was figured out
- Real example of how this played out for me during my career (I tested this type of storytelling in episode 2).
I tested differing orders for newsletters, this seems to work best based on amount of opens and unsubscribes.
I’m taking a break for the rest of 2020.
In 2021 I’ll work on finishing and publishing Good Product Management Volume 1. I still have some untested assumptions about this. I’m going to start testing them by speaking with friends and colleagues who’ve published books and work out from there. I had a dry-run with an author friend in November to refine my questions and tested feasibility of doing the interview via asynchronous Twitter DMs.
If things go well I might start work on a volume 2 about product leadership end of 2021/2022.