“42 Rules of Product Management” Book Notes

Here are my big takeaways from this book:

[Rule 5] Learning to say “no” to customers – this is perhaps the one takeaway I’ve heard time and time again from PMs. Understanding your customers is paramount, but that doesn’t mean every detail and request from them is appropriate for your product. This is much easier said than done, but I think the most important skill in the practice.

[Rule 16] Get out of the office – this rule is to get a better understanding of the customer viewpoint, but I think it is probably one of the most misunderstood…amongst your colleagues. For all other roles on a team in an Agile setting, staying in the office is typically a rough indicator of commitment, work output, and availability. It may not always be clear why you are spending time outside the office, especially if you are unreachable. As a PM, it’s important to stay available as a PM outside of the office because the team is relying on you.

[Rule 35] Act like a child – the book describes the core of this rule as someone who continuously asks, “why,” such as in the common “five whys” exercise. I think this rule could further extend to physically getting a child in front of your product. One of the best user feedback sessions I’ve ever had was when testing an iOS app that I developed with my young cousin when he was about 8-10 years old. I asked him to perform an action on the mobile app’s map screen, and watching him use the wrong buttons told me that I needed to simplify the UI and remove unnecessary features.

Conclusion: 42 Rules of Product Management is a good reference to pick up from time to time as a PM. It’s a bit light on examples but can give you a good exercise or two when you really need it.

Click here for 42 Rules of Product Management on the publisher’s website.

Switching from Google Chrome to Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome’s ties with all things advertising and tracking have led me to switch to the Firefox web browser. Firefox (and Mozilla, its parent company) are aiming to differentiate their software offerings with an emphasis on privacy protection and security, and at least for me, their strategy is working.

I thought crossing over would be more difficult, but it was actually a simple process. Here’s what I migrated and how I did it:

  1. Bookmarks: Export bookmarks from Chome, Import those bookmarks into Firefox.
  2. Settings: Browse through Firefox’s settings and make some tweaks. Most notably, under Privacy and Security > Cookies and Site Data, I tweaked the settings to clear Firefox’s cookies when I close the browser. I also added some exceptions for sites I use daily, like Google.
  3. Extensions/Add-Ons: I found the Firefox versions of Momentum, Grammarly, and Adblock easy enough. Since the impetus for my switch was privacy, after talking with my brother, I also installed the fantastic Multi-Account Container extension. It lets you isolate Facebook into its own browser process, and lets you sign in to multiple Gmail accounts, all in the same browser window. It took a few minutes to setup but was well worth it.