Five Books Every Product Owner Should Read

Product Owner Development –

Digital Foundry maintains a library of books that it considers to be important for product owners running digital projects. These titles address various topics, but we feel the books contribute to developing a well rounded product owner and help satisfy the continued educational requirement of the product owner role. In general, the lessons learned from these books apply to the product owner, even though the role, in some cases, is not explicitly mentioned. Here are some of the books Digital Foundry recommend to to clients, partners and team members.

The Innovator’s Dilemma

by Clay Christensen

Innovator's DilemmaChristensen explores ‘disruptive innovation’ in The Innovator’s Dilemma and examines the need for businesses (and in the context of digital, product owners running digital projects) to simultaneously adhere to customer needs, adopt new technologies and take rivals into consideration in order to evolve and survive.  The book explores scenarios across varied industries and uncovers the paradox where the things that have made companies successful in the first place may ultimately contribute to their failure.

Purple Cow

by Seth Godin

Purple CowPurple Cows is a manifesto for marketers urging that there is more to marketing than pricing, promotion, etc.  Godin emphasizes that we (product owners) are at a point where product and service must be marketable, and marketing as a bolt-on or checklist is no longer effective.



The Agile Samurai

by Jonathan Rasmussen

Agile Samurai

The Agile Samurai is an indispensable resource to help product owners and their teams deliver value through working software. Rasmussen explores how to plan, execute and deliver using a mix of traditional agile techniques and tools he developed during various engagements. The book provides a fresh perspective into project management through the lens of an engineer, delivered by meaningful anecdotes.

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking

by Malcolm Gladwell

BlinkBlink examines how people process information and why certain people are more adept at making flash decisions.  Gladwell explores several scenarios illustrating that intuition outperforms data in investigations where huge sums and effort were invested in the latter.  Blink will cause you as a product owner to examine how you and your team are making decisions.



Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

by Al Ries and Jack Trout

PositioningPositioning revisits ways to rise above the noise, a concept in marketing dating back to the early eighties. Principles and techniques forged 30 years ago before social media, Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Y Combinator still apply. Ries and Trout walk through their proven approach and provide case studies exploring the nuances of creating or pivoting your position in the mind of the consumer. We find Positioning to be a good foundational read for product owners.