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Establishing a dedicated product management function in a small startup can be a game-changer, especially as your company grows and attracts more market attention. A structured approach to product management ensures that your startup can navigate the complexities of scaling operations, enhance product offerings, and maintain a competitive edge. If you're facing the challenge of starting this process, we've pulled together some recommended books and resources to guide you. With our brief summaries you'll also find a link to an external source of information with its own more detailed version of why they're worth a read.


  1. Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri

Melissa Perri's Escaping the Build Trap is highly recommended for understanding the fundamentals of product management. It addresses common pitfalls and helps you focus on delivering real value to customers rather than just building features. This book is beneficial for startups transitioning from a tech-driven approach to a more balanced product-market fit. Find a great review from a PMs perspective of Escaping the Build trap from the UX collective for more insight as to why this book made our list. 


  1. Continuous Discovery Habits by Teresa Torres

Continuous Discovery Habits offers practical advice on maintaining a customer-centric approach while building products. Teresa Torres emphasises regular customer interaction to refine and improve your product continuously. This is crucial for startups aiming to enhance their product-market fit and ensure they are building what customers truly need. Find out more about Teresa Torres and her book from Product Talk


  1. The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

The Mom Test provides a straightforward method for conducting compelling customer interviews. This book is invaluable for founders and product managers looking to validate ideas and gather honest feedback from customers, ensuring that your product development aligns with market demands. Want to understand what doing the 'mom test' actually means? Kyle Evans sums it up nicely in his review as well as a bit more detail on why it's worth a read. 


  1. Shape Up by Ryan Singer

Ryan Singer's Shape Up is an excellent resource for teams looking to improve their product development processes. It introduces innovative project management and prioritisation concepts, which are particularly useful for startups needing to deliver quality products without extensive resources. Find a sneak peak to the foreword for Shape Up here! 


  1. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Jessica Livingston's Founders at Work provides insights from successful startup founders. This book is not a traditional product management guide, but the firsthand accounts of building and scaling startups offer valuable lessons that can help establish a product management function. Get the four-minute overview for Founders at Work here

Additional Resources

  • Tools: For those who prefer a more structured and interactive learning experience, Reforge offers comprehensive programs tailored for product managers in technical and niche industries. Although the format has evolved, the content remains valuable for those setting up a new product management function.
  • Talks: Seek out talks and writings by experts like Richard Banfield, Teresa Torres, Melissa Perri, and Bill Aulet. These resources can offer high-level insights and practical advice for founders setting up product management roles.
  • Consultants and Temporary PMs: While books provide great foundational knowledge, consider hiring a consultant or a temporary product manager with experience with small teams and niche products. Their practical insights can complement the theoretical knowledge from books.

Equipping yourself and your team with these resources can lay a solid foundation for a successful product management function that aligns with your startup's goals and market demands.

If you're looking to hire a product manager but need help figuring out where to start or what to ask, Consortia has over 10 years of experience in recruitment and consulting for Product Management roles. We have helped create realistic and effective job descriptions tailored to the product and company’s needs. Check our Google reviews to see what our clients and product candidates have to say about our expertise or get in touch to speak to one of our team of product specialists.


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