Gojko's Product Management Books
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Gojko's Product Management Books

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    • Startups
    • Product Management
    • Agile
    • Management
    • Software
    • Computers and Programming

About the Books

Lizard Optimization

Unlock Product Growth by Engaging Long-Tail Users
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A product I worked on grew explosively from November 2021 to November 2022. The key user metric, tracking when people are getting value from the product, increased by more than 500 times in those 12 months (times, not percent). This happened after a period of unremarkable growth and a slow decline. Looking back, the key factor in reversing the decline and unlocking exponential growth was a counter-intuitive approach to engaging users.

This book is a summary of what I learned from that crazy growth phase, synthesized into a simple process that you can apply to improve your products. As a consequence, this process can help you unlock growth, reduce churn and increase revenue. 

Who should read this book?

This book is primarily for software product managers, product data scientists, senior engineers and anyone else involved in product management and guidance.

If your role involves coming up with new feature ideas, approving or rejecting proposed changes, or supporting people who do, this is a book for you.

How can Lizard Optimization help you?

If your product is still looking for a market, Lizard Optimization can help you find it sooner. For products that need to grow their user base, this technique can help you reduce churn and keep customers engaged for longer. For more mature products, Lizard Optimization could uncover new feature ideas, engage overlooked categories of users, and help you address larger markets. It can also reveal interesting ideas for increasing customer lifetime value. 

Impact Mapping

Making a big impact with software products and projects
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Software is everywhere today, but countless software products and projects die a slow death without ever making any impact. The result is a tremendous amount of time and money wasted due to wrong assumptions, lack of focus, poor communication of objectives, lack of understanding and misalignment with overall goals. There has to be a better way to deliver!This handbook is a practical guide to impact mapping, a simple yet incredibly effective method for collaborative strategic planning that helps organisations make an impact with software. Impact mapping helps to create better plans and roadmaps that ensure alignment of business and delivery, and are easily adaptable to change. Impact mapping fits nicely into several current trends in software product management and release planning, including goal-oriented requirements engineering, frequent iterative delivery, agile and lean software methods, lean startup product development cycles, and design thinking.

Who is this book for?

The primary audience of this book are senior people involved in building software products or delivering software projects, from both business and delivery sides. This includes business sponsors and those whose responsibilities include product ownership, project oversight or portfolio management, architecture, business analysis, quality improvement and assurance and delivery. 

  • Business people assigned to software projects will learn how to communicate their ideas better.
  • Senior product or project sponsors will learn how to communicate their assumptions more effectively to delivery teams, how to engage delivery teams to make better strategic decisions, and how to manage their project portfolio more effectively.
  • Delivery teams that are already working under the umbrella of agile or lean delivery methods, and more recently lean startup ideas, will learn how to better focus deliverables and engage business sponsors and users.
  • Delivery teams moving to agile or lean delivery methods will get ideas on how to address some common issues with scaling these practices, such as creating a big picture view, splitting work into small chunks that still have business value and reporting progress more meaningfully.

Fifty Quick Ideas to Improve your User Stories

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This book will help you write better stories, spot and fix common issues, split stories so that they are smaller but still valuable, and deal with difficult stuff like crosscutting concerns, long-term effects and non-functional requirements. Above all, this book will help you achieve the promise of agile and iterative delivery: to ensure that the right stuff gets delivered through productive discussions between delivery team members and business stakeholders.

Who is this book for?

This is a book for anyone working in an iterative delivery environment, doing planning with user stories. The ideas in this book are useful both to people relatively new to user stories and those who have been working with them for years. People who work in software delivery, regardless of their role, will find plenty of tips for engaging stakeholders better and structuring iterative plans more effectively. Business stakeholders working with software teams will discover how to provide better information to their delivery groups, how to set better priorities and how to outrun the competition by achieving more with less software.

Who is this book not for?

This book doesn't cover the basics of stories. We assume that readers know what Card-Conversation-Confirmation means, what INVEST is and how to apply the basic strategies for splitting user stories. This isn't the first book you should read about user stories, if those terms are unfamiliar. There are plenty of good basic books out there, so read them first and then come back.  Please don't hate us because we skipped the basics, but there is only so much space in the book and other people cover the basics already well enough.

What's inside?

Unsurprisingly, the book contains exactly fifty ideas. They are grouped into five major parts:

  • Creating stories: This part deals with capturing information about stories before they get accepted into the delivery pipeline. You'll find ideas about what kind of information to note down on story cards and how to quickly spot potential problems.
  • Planning with stories: This part contains ideas that will help you manage the big-picture view, set milestones and organise long-term work.
  • Discussing stories: User stories are all about effective conversations, and this part contains ideas to improve discussions between delivery teams and business stakeholders. You'll find out how to discover hidden assumptions and how to facilitate effective conversations to ensure shared understanding.
  • Splitting stories: The ideas in this part will help you deal with large and difficult stories, offering several strategies for dividing them into smaller chunks that will help you learn fast and deliver value quickly.
  • Managing iterative delivery: This part contains ideas that will help you work with user stories in the short and mid term, manage capacity, prioritise and reduce scope to achieve the most with the least software.

Each part contains ideas that we've used with teams over the last five or six years to help them manage user stories better and get more value out of iterative delivery. These ideas come from many different contexts, from large investment banks working on internal IT initiatives to small web start-ups shipping consumer software. 

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