INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

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Second Edition


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Book Details
 370 p
 File Size 
 1,932 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 9781119387541 (ePDF) 
 9781119387565 (ePub)
 2018 byWiley

About the Author
Before founding the Silicon Valley Product Group to pursue his
interests in helping others create successful products through
his writing, speaking, advising, and coaching, Marty Cagan served
as an executive responsible for defining and building products for
some of the most successful companies in the world, including
Hewlett-Packard, Netscape Communications, and eBay.
Marty began his career with a decade as a software engineer
at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, conducting research on software
technology and building several software products for other software developers.

After HP, Marty joined a then-young Netscape Communications
Corporation, where he had the opportunity to participate in the birth
of the Internet industry. Marty worked directly for co-founder Marc
Andreessen, where he was vice president for Netscape’s platform and
tools, and later e-commerce applications, and worked to help Internet
startups and Fortune 500 companies alike understand and use the newly
emerging technology.

Marty was most recently senior vice president of product and
design for eBay, where he was responsible for defining products and
services for the company’s global e-commerce trading site.
During his career, Marty has personally performed and managed
most of the roles of a modern software product organization, including
engineering, product management, product marketing, user experience
design, software testing, engineering management, and general
As part of his work with SVPG, Marty is an invited speaker at
major conferences and top companies across the globe.
Marty is a graduate of the University of California at Santa
Cruz with bachelor of arts degrees in computer science and applied
economics (1981) and of the Stanford University Executive Institute (1994).

Preface to the Second Edition
When I first considered publishing an update to the first edition
of my book INSPIRED, I estimated that maybe I would modify
something like 10–20 percent of the content. That’s because there was
very little of the first edition that I wished I could change.
However, once I got started, I quickly realized that this second
edition would require a complete rewrite.Not because I regretted what
I had written, but because I believe I have much better ways of explaining
these topics now.
I had no idea that the first edition would be as successful as it
has been. Thanks to the book, I have made friends all over the globe.
The book has been translated into several languages, and despite being
nearly 10 years old as of this writing, sales continues to grow, all by
word of mouth and reviews.
So, if you have read the first edition, I thank you, and hope you
enjoy the second edition even more. If you are new to INSPIRED, I am
hoping this new edition accomplishes its objective even better.
When I wrote the first edition, it was before Agile was well established
in product companies, and before Customer Development and
Lean Startup nomenclature became popularized. Today, most teams
have been using these techniques for several years and are more interested
in what’s beyond Lean and Agile, which is what I focus on here.
I have kept the basic structure of the book intact, but the techniques
I describe have improved significantly over the past decade.
Beyond changing how I explain the topics and updating the techniques,
the other major change to the book is that I now go into detail
on what I refer to here as Product @ Scale.
In the first edition, I focused more on startups. In this edition,
however, I wanted to expand the scope to look at the challenges of
growth-stage companies and how product can be done well at large,
enterprise companies.
There’s no question that scale introduces serious challenges, and
over the past decade, much of my time has been spent coaching companies
through rapid growth. Sometimes we call that surviving success,
if that gives you an indication of how hard it can be.
I’ve received a lot of great feedback from readers of the first
edition, and there are a couple of important things I’ve learned that I
would like to address here.
First, there really is a critical need to focus on the specific job of
the product manager. In the first edition, I talked a lot about product
management, but I tried to speak to product teams more broadly.
Today, there are many excellent resources for product designers and
engineers, but precious little available specifically for product managers
who are responsible for technology-powered products. So, in this edition
I decided to concentrate on the job of the technology productmanager.
If you are a product manager at a technology company, or if you aspire
to be one, I am hoping this will become your go-to resource.
Second, there are many people looking for a recipe for product
success—a prescriptive guide or framework to how to create products
customers love. While I understand the desire, and I know I’d likely sell
many more copies if I positioned this book that way, the unfortunate
truth is that’s just not how great products are created. It is much more
about creating the right product culture for success, and understanding
the array of product discovery and delivery techniques so that you can
use the right tool for the specific issue you are facing. And, yes, this
means that the job of the product manager is not in any sense easy, and
truth be told, not everyone is equipped to succeed in this job.
All that said, the tech product management job is today one of
the most desired jobs in our industry, and is the leading source—the
proving ground—of startup CEOs. So, if you’ve got the desire and are
willing to put in the effort, I’d like nothing better than to help you succeed.

Table of Contents
Preface to the Second Edition xvii
Chapter 1 Behind Every Great Product 5
Chapter 2 Technology-Powered Products and Services 7
Chapter 3 Startups: Getting to Product/Marketing Fit 9
Chapter 4 Growth-Stage Companies: Scaling to Success 11
Chapter 5 Enterprise Companies: Consistent Product Innovation 13
Chapter 6 The Root Causes of Failed Product Efforts 15
Chapter 7 Beyond Lean and Agile 23
Chapter 8 Key Concepts 25

Chapter 9 Principles of Strong Product Teams 33
Chapter 10 The Product Manager 41
Chapter 11 The Product Designer 53
Chapter 12 The Engineers 59
Chapter 13 Product Marketing Managers 63
Chapter 14 The Supporting Roles 67
Chapter 15 Profile: Jane Manning of Google 71
Chapter 16 The Role of Leadership 75
Chapter 17 The Head of Product Role 79
Chapter 18 The Head of Technology Role 87
Chapter 19 The Delivery Manager Role 91
Chapter 20 Principles of Structuring Product Teams 93
Chapter 21 Profile: Lea Hickman of Adobe 103
Chapter 22 The Problems with Product Roadmaps 111
Chapter 23 The Alternative to Roadmaps 115
Chapter 24 Product Vision and Product Strategy 123
Chapter 25 Principles of Product Vision 129
Chapter 26 Principles of Product Strategy 133
Chapter 27 Product Principles 135
Chapter 28 The OKR Technique 139
Chapter 29 Product Team Objectives 143
Chapter 30 Product Objectives @ Scale 147
Chapter 31 Product Evangelism 151
Chapter 32 Profile: Alex Pressland of the BBC 155

Chapter 33 Principles of Product Discovery 165
Chapter 34 Discovery Techniques Overview 171
Chapter 35 Opportunity Assessment Technique 179
Chapter 36 Customer Letter Technique 183
Chapter 37 Startup Canvas Technique 187
Chapter 38 Story Map Technique 193
Chapter 39 Customer Discovery Program Technique 195
Chapter 40 Profile: Martina Lauchengco of Microsoft 205
Chapter 41 Customer Interviews 211
Chapter 42 Concierge Test Technique 215
Chapter 43 The Power of Customer Misbehavior 217
Chapter 44 Hack Days 221
Chapter 45 Principles of Prototypes 227
Chapter 46 Feasibility Prototype Technique 229
Chapter 47 User Prototype Technique 233
Chapter 48 Live-Data Prototype Technique 235
Chapter 49 Hybrid Prototype Technique 239
Chapter 50 Testing Usability 243
Chapter 51 Testing Value 251
Chapter 52 Demand Testing Techniques 253
Chapter 53 Qualitative Value Testing Techniques 259
Chapter 54 Quantitative Value Testing Techniques 265
Chapter 55 Testing Feasibility 273
Chapter 56 Testing Business Viability 277
Chapter 57 Profile: Kate Arnold of Netflix 283
Chapter 58 Discovery Sprint Technique 287
Chapter 59 Pilot Team Technique 291
Chapter 60 Weaning an Organization Off Roadmaps 293
Chapter 61 Managing Stakeholders 297
Chapter 62 Communicating Product Learnings 305
Chapter 63 Profile: Camille Hearst of Apple 307

Chapter 64 Good Product Team/Bad Product Team 311
Chapter 65 Top Reasons for Loss of Innovation 315
Chapter 66 Top Reasons for Loss of Velocity 319
Chapter 67 Establishing a Strong Product Culture 323
Acknowledgments 327
About the Author 329
Learning More 331
Index 333

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“INSPIRED is the authority on how to build a product that customers
actually want. It’s not about hiring product managers - it’s about establishing
a culture that puts the user first, and builds the organization
and teams around that customer to ensure that you are building the best
product possible. From CEOs to APMs, this is required reading.”
—Amanda Richardson, Chief Data and Strategy Officer, HotelTonight

“We first started working with Marty when ImmobilienScout was entering
growth-stage, and he helped us set the organization up to rapidly
scale and grow to become one of the largest and most successful technology
startups in Germany. He remained a friend and advisor to the company
for many years. His book INSPIRED helped people from all across the
company, and the new version is sure to help many more companies.”
—Jürgen Böhm, Co-Founder, Immobilien Scout GmbH

“It does not matter if you are a seasoned product leader or a new product
manager, INSPIRED will make you realise that you have the best job in
the world and can have incredible impact - especially if you followMarty
Cagan’s words of wisdom. His book has been the bible of our industry
for the past decade, and it will no doubt continue to be so with this latest
update containing the most exciting best-in-class product practices.
—Tanya Cordrey, former Chief Digital Officer at Guardian News & Media

“Building a great product that nails Product/Market Fit is always
a key first step to any successful start-up. However, organizing the
product and engineering teams, in ways that ensures scalability, speed,
and quality is usually the next biggest challenge. Marty’s insights
and lessons learned can be applied to build highly productive teams to
manage through dependencies, and build a culture that is positioned to
scale. This applies whether your business is in need of a serious course
correction, or on a rocket ship.”
—Scott Sahadi, Founder and CEO, The Experience Engine

Marty offers actionable advice on product management without being
too prescriptive, making his wisdom applicable in many contexts. He
draws from a wealth of experience, illustrating his advice with dozens
of real-world stories. If you want to create digital products that people
love, this book will get you started on the right path.”
—Teresa Torres, Discovery Coach

“We have worked closely with Marty shaping product and building
product management organisations in several of our portfolio companies.
Marty’s insight and advice is leading-edge and world-class.”
—Harry Nellis, Partner, Accel

“Early in my career in Product Management, I had the good fortune of
meetingMarty Cagan. Since then, he has been an incredible mentor for
me and the teams I’ve led. I have seen, firsthand at multiple companies,
how Marty transforms product teams and unlocks sustained innovation
and growth. Marty literally and figuratively wrote the book on Product
Management for today’s technology industry.”
—Sarah Fried Rose, Product Leader and COO

“I’ve been lucky to work with some of the best product managers and
product minds in the business. In my experience Marty Cagan is hands
down the absolute best product management mind alive today. This book
packs years of experience into 250 pages.”
—Marty Abbott, CEO, AKF Partners, former CTO, eBay

“Great products delight customers. Marty Cagan has led and inspired
countless product teams and in INSPIRED, you will learn how to build
those products, both strategically and tactically.”
—Shripriya Mahesh, Partner, Omidyar Network

“CEOs, Chief Product Officers, and anyone who cares about creating
great products, must read this book. Your customers will love you for it.”
—Phil Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain,
co-author, Customers Included

“Marty is not only a seasoned expert on all aspects of the often ambiguous
discipline of productmanagement, his book also provides inspiration, tools
and techniques, and really practical help.”
—Judy Gibbons, Startup Advisor and Board Member

“Building great products is hard. Marty gives great insight into best
practices and skills that really can only be discovered after years of experience
and study. Just about every product person I respect learned product
management from INSPIRED.”
—Jason Li, CEO and Founder, Boolan, Shanghai

“If you want your customers to love your products, INSPIRED is an
’everyone in the company’ must read book.”
—Jana Eggers, CEO, Nara Logic

“What I really love about working with Marty is that his techniques
are applicable to building really great enterprise products - not just new
consumer apps. INSPIRED is our true north. Anytime I feel the organization
moving sideways, it’s time to read it again!”
—Jeff Trom, Founder and CTO,Workiva

“I’ve known Marty for nearly 20 years. By now, you’d think I’d have
heard everything he has to say. And yet, every time I see him, his continued
interest in learning about our field means that he always new
ideas to share. And with honesty, humanity, frankness, and most of
all…perspective that never fails to give me fresh energy and a new approach. 
Thrilled that he’s bottled it for us oncemore in this new edition of INSPIRED!”
—Audrey Crane, Partner, DesignMap

“Marty’s practical approach to building great products transformed the
way we approached product development for the radical betterment of
the Company and our customers. Just as importantly, his methodology
helped shapemultiple people’s career trajectories both inside the Company
and outside of it as they’ve gone on to drive product development in other
organizations - from Fortune 500 companies to other VC backed high
growth companies. If you’re in a leadership role or on the product team
at an organization trying to build products your target audience loves,
this should be the next book you read.”
Shawn Boyer, Founder, Snagajob and goHappy

“When I needed to stand up a productive, scalable product management
function at Etsy, I turned toMarty.His playbook for establishing product
management as a distinct discipline is invaluable for any team working
on products powered by software and made by engineers." Rarely is a
business book so clearly written and packed full of concrete advice. We
used it as our product management guide in scaling Etsy, and I’ve used
it in every company since.”
—Maria Thomas, Board Member and Investor

“The art of ProductManagement is the art of life itself. Surround yourselves
by great people, focus on yourmojo, build great stuff with integrity,
hold strong opinions but lightly. And Marty is one of the best teachers of this art.”
Punit Soni, Founder and CEO, Robin, Former Google APM

“Marty was a coach and mentor for my early years in product management
and the book INSPIRED became the go to guide whenever
I needed some clarity on the product manager’s role, skill set or the daily
challenges from product discovery to execution. And it still was a solid
reference while stepping up to a product leadership role. Now, in my role
as discovery coach, I recommend the book to every new client. It’s not a
methodology book; this book helps product people to get the right mindset
regardless of the frameworks and techniques they are using.”
—PetraWille, Discovery Coach

“Marty’s 2nd Edition builds on an amazing base of knowledge and experience,
and provides even more insights, lessons, and frameworks that
are imperative to every product-based company.”
—Chuck Geiger, CTO/CPO Chegg

Marty has a way of elegantly simplifying decades of experience leading
and teaching product organizations to excel in value creation for
their customers into one actionable, inspiring, quick read. From organizational
assessments, tools for aligning teams against a real user need,
to the nitty gritty of pulling off continuous product discovery & delivery,
INSPIRED is my go-to reference and recommendation for any Product
Leader looking to up their game for the sake of building winning products.”
—Lisa Kavanaugh, Executive Coach

“Marty is legendary among the best product leaders for cutting to the
heart of where their teams need to improve. His advice is practical,
actionable and will excite you and your team to better address customer
needs immediately. Your engineers and customers will thank you for
reading this book.”
—Hope Gurion, Product Leader

“Marty is the go-to expert for how to build great products. He has personally
trained and educated product managers from all over the world
across every industry. Marty has coached and guided some of the most
successful Internet companies of our time. This second edition shares even
more from his vast expertise and knowledge about how the best companies
in the world are able to build products that their customers love.”
—Mike Fisher, CTO, Etsy

“Marty reminds us of the importance of why we build products.
The product mindset and focusing on our customers, builds better
entrepreneurs, companies and better solutions for all of us. This mindset
is the foundation of building successful product companies at any stage.”
—Erin Stadler, Discovery Coach, Boomtown Accelerator