The Lean Product Playbook – A Book Review

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The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback is a guidebook in applying Lean principles to product development. It is a manual for adopting Lean thinking as companies develop ideas and create products that customers will love. The book provides the reader specific step-by-step guidance in applying concepts even as they face challenges trying to adopt Lean principles. The book recognizes the difficulties of building great products, since new products have a usual failure rate of anywhere from 25 to 45 percent. The book aims to help improve the chances of building successful products. It discusses concepts such as the product-market fit pyramid, and a repeatable methodology to achieve that fit.

Book Details

The first hardcover edition is about 6.5 in. wide, 1.5 in. thick, and 8.9 in. tall. It has a shipping weight of about 1.2 pounds. It has 336 pages divided in 15 chapters. A Kindle edition is also available. The book was published in June 2015 by Wiley in the English language. ISBN-10: 1118960874; ISBN-13: 978-1118960875

Price

$23.68 for the hardcover version and $18.39 for the Kindle version

Target Audience

The Lean Product Playbook is for entrepreneurs, for product managers, designers, and developers, for marketers, analysts and program managers, for CEOs and other executives, for anyone trying to build a new product or service, or trying to improve an existing one. It is also for anyone interested in Lean startup, customer development, Lean UX, design thinking, product management, user experience design, or Agile development. The book applies to companies of all sizes.

What Customers Say

Mario M. (Goodreads) stated that The Lean Product Playbook has been really helpful to him as he learned to develop products for his educational mobile app company. It helped him go about building a product. He highly recommends this very practical book.

Robert B. (Amazon) described the book as if the author was reading his mind. It provides step-by-step instruction of building a product and taking it to market. He stated that questions that came up as he was reading were always answered before the chapter ends.

Mike C. (Amazon) described it as a very useful handbook for learning product management practices in general and Lean in particular. It includes good conceptual model for different levels of thinking. It also provides step-by-step instructions on the product development lifecycle.

Content, Approach, Style

Content: The Lean Product Playbook has 15 chapters distributed in 3 parts. The first part explains core concepts such as the product-market fit, and problem space vs solution space. Part II details the 6 steps of the Lean Product Process, and additional chapter on principles of great UX design, iterative improvements, and a case study. The last part provides additional guidance in product building using Agile development, topics on metrics and analytics, and another case study.
Approach/Tone: The author relays his ideas with clear explanations, and often with related analogies and easy-to-grasp examples. The book presents the concepts, principles and discussions in a serious tone, reminding the reader of the cost and high percentage of failed products due to improper development and process.
Style: The ideas and topics are organized in a way that one builds the requisite knowledge for the next. The text are in simple language with business terms that are well-defined. Paragraphs are of readable length, and figures and lists help convey the ideas in a more visual way.

Why Buy the Book

The Lean Product Playbook is a guide for people who believe they have great ideas for products. It fills in the knowledge gap needed for an idea to become a great product that the market will appreciate. Lean principles can be applied to help develop successful products that people will want and buy, simply because they meet customer needs. This comprehensive guide has the principles, practical steps, and real-world examples to help readers be knowledgeable and prepared for the challenges.

Author

Dan Olsen is a product management and Lean startup consultant. As the owner of Olsen Solutions LLC, Dan works with CEOs and other leaders to help build great products. Working as an interim VP of Product, he also helps organizations develop strong product teams. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Northwestern University, his Master’s degree in industrial engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. Dan has worked with various companies such as Intuit, Friendster, Box, and is co-founder and former CEO of YourVersion. He also founded the monthly Lean Product and Lean UX Meetup in Silicon Valley.

$23.68 for the hardcover version and $18.39 for the Kindle version

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose Maria Delos Santos

Jose is a subject matter expert and member of the writing team for Project-Management.com. He has written hundreds of articles including project management software reviews, books reviews, training site reviews, and general articles related to the project management industry.

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