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The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,070 ratings  ·  98 reviews
The missing manual on how to apply Lean Startup to build products that customers love

The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide to building products that customers love. Whether you work at a startup or a large, established company, we all know that building great products is hard. Most new products fail. This book helps improve your chances of building successful

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published May 27th 2015 by Wiley (first published March 16th 2015)
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 ·  1,070 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am a 24-year old product owner for an educational mobile app company and this book has been incredibly helpful for me as I learn about how to develop products. I come from a non-technical background and have only been the PO for a couple of months, so I have looked for any and every book to help me out.

This title says it all because it really is a playbook for how to go about building the product. I found it to be much more practical than the Lean Startup and here are some of the key
Cem Guvener
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Great read for product management. Beginner or seasoned in product management? Doesn't matter. I'd definitely suggest it either to learn more or remind yourself some of the basics.
Maria Lasprilla
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very practical book. Useful if you want to revisit some product management fundamentals or if you want an introduction to the topic.
Karandeep Baweja
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great read for entrepreneurs and PM's. Crystallises the whole process reduces uncertainty in one of the most important part of your startup's journey.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Good enough to understand product management from start, sometime it is too much in detail and repetitive. Still good to start with this book.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ilia by: Tim Herbig
if you only read one product management book, read this one. longer review coming, but this has the best overview and gives you a lot to work with right away.
Barry Graubart
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Really does a great job at walking through the full product development lifecycle from a product management standpoint. Great and practical focus on how to bring minimum viable product to market; how to run a beta to gather feedback, etc.

I also like that it's not limited to startups; most of what's in here is applicable to both startups and more mature businesses.

If you're a fan of Steve Blank's approach to product management, this is a great companion (and is better written than the
Sebastian Gebski
No star rating as this is just the synthesis of previous "Lean series" books, mainly Lean Startup & Lean UX. It's well written, but there's barely any genuine & original content, except of 1 full chapter which is a real-life case of product pivot (very interesting, TBH).

So if you've already read other books in the series, you can easily skip this one. Otherwise, it's not a bad way of getting familiar with the idea - none of synthesised topics feel too shallow, which makes this book quite
Gerry H
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the thing Olsen address so well in this book is how to quantify - put into a measurable metric - qualitative user stories to reinforce decision and determine priority in building product features. I'm a product builder and a marker launcher who came from creative agencies and market research agencies background; I think his methods are consistent with the principals I've applied at my previous roles
Dec 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
What this book essentially does, is taking Ries' lean startup methodology and applying it to NPD, in an extremely practical manner (going into details like booking rooms for user testing). It touches briefly, and again very practically, some related topics such as agile development. All in all, a good book for novice Product Owners and startup founders.
Ryan Mcconville
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read on product management and marketing. Olsen writes clearly and concisely, providing lots of helpful frameworks and a couple illuminating case studies. Highly recommend as intro or refresher.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
It's the ultimate toolbox for product design and a encoclypedia about how to apply them. However, I sometimes miss depth in the respective mindset. If you're new to product design, start with Marty Cagan's "Inspired" and use the Lean Product Playbook as your box full of toys.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very nice framework that is not applied on software products development but in many aspects of business. I recommend this highly to whom willing to engage in new business wither startups or who are willing to renovate their existing business.
Ryan Willging
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
A good overview for new product managers but quite 101 for experienced PM's who do a lot of reading about the craft of product management. May be better served going to Mind the Product or something similar and reading the blog posts.
Henry Suryawirawan
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Great book if you want to learn on how to create successful product. I really enjoyed reading it and would love to apply the playbook building a product.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech, agile
This book provides very practical steps in how businesses and teams can apply Lean Startup principles so that they can build a product that has good "product market fit".

product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market - Marc Andreessen

The advice and practices described in this playbook are centered around the product market fit pyramid, which lays out 5 concrete steps that build on each other.

Starting with the lowest and most foundational these are:
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
In an effort to increase my professional development In the product management space, I picked up this book to try to understand what good product management is, and what makes products succeed.

I was immediately impressed by the organization of the book. The text is broken down by core concept, starting with the area of the product incubation process, then moving on to product development and optimization. Some parts were more relevant than other parts, as much of it was specific to
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve just finished a read through and I’m very impressed with it. The book seems to live up to the promise of a playbook. I look forward to applying the information.

I would have liked one or two more case studies for steps 1 - 4, target audience through to MVP.

Some may appreciate a warning that the author’s experiences at social networking service Friendster are used in the book, as well as some discussion of viral marketing/growth and Facebook’s successes.

That also reminds me that the focus is
David Mytton
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a useful framework for implementing a rigorous product design and development process. The biggest problem I see with most startups / products is they start with going into coding immediately, or with technical features. This is probably because many startups begin with a problem for the founding team and so they build something to solve it.

However, unless you properly consider and research the problem-space and value proposition, you can end up building something which either doesn’t
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the lean product development methodology

The author covered topics such as defining the targeted market segment, identifying underserved needs, determining the value propositions, developing and testing the MVP, identifying key metrics, and product optimization.

I especially enjoyed reading the sections about 1) differentiating the problem space and the solution space and 2) writing down the business formula and breaking it down to define the most important metric to work
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good overview of the process that should lead a company to delivering value via a product that actually solves pain points for users.
This book covers basics of how to build product fast and with minimal waist. Also gives reasons behind these suggestions, therefore it is a good read for every team member in the cross-functional team.
As a data scientist I am most interested in building ML products, therefore this book was most valuable for me by providing a framework for "normal" product
Anand Vatsya
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really insightful book on building products from ground zero. Dan discusses about some really great frameworks, methodologies and tools and even includes case studies and excerpts from other founders to break down the concepts.

4 stars because I felt maybe 20-30% of the information was repetitive. And it got a lot technical at times and might be difficult to grasp for non tech people like me. I don't think a lot of people can follow the overtly technical stuff as first-time founders will not
Dec 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
There are some good general ideas for product creators to maximize their efficiency in this book. However, it is strongly geared toward software development and it's hard to confirm whether the advice is this book can be universally applied. It's easy to see some alignment with those making a hard-copy product, but more difficult for anyone working more heavily with content. It does help explain scrum and kanban, which was what I was looking for, but I'm less certain that much else is applicable ...more
Ulf Sthamer
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the view books I read twice.

It's hands down the best book to demonstrate the overall process to create new software products.
If you read 'the Lean Startup' and it made sense, but you didn't know how to implement those ideas - this is the book for you. It's what 'Lean UX' attempted but didn't quite delivered - a more hands on additional book for lean startup process.

The chapter about agile development is the only one that might be a bit redundant for the readers or could have been
Bernardo Vailati
Was very impressed with the scope and directness of this book. It is packed full with sensible and actionable techniques and insights on how to build good (and sustainable) products.

The sections on UX and design seemed a bit superficial and weak, but that't probably because those are my areas of expertise. I wish everyone working with the product in my company would at least know those basics.

Special highlight for the metrics sections at the begining and end of the book, that seems to be the
Mario Lucero
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I considered this book a great toolkit for entrepreneurs, business managers, product owners, product managers and for every person involved in building new products.

I saw and heard about many failures in startups and after reading this amazing book I got some reasons about that.

Last but not least, the book is plenty of useful metrics to get your achievement so I strongly recommend this book!!
Jordan Brown
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's definitely a good book. I'd probably give it closer to a 4.5. It provides the detailed information that was missing in The Lean Startup. Whereas Lean Startup is more of a manifesto, this is a practical guide for moving through the steps of the lean startup methodology.

Still, saying all that, I think Running Lean by Ash Maurya does a better job of moving you through the steps in a clear and compelling way.
Scott Wozniak
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This books is perhaps the most practical, step-by-step guide on how to do go from idea to profitable product. He doesn't just give the ideas, he gives multiple methods (citing lots of other authors throughout the book) and practical tips for each step. It's 4 (not 5) stars because it is so very focused on software products that if you are building anything else there's at least a lot of translation, if not the need to skip sections. But if you're in that space, this is a great read.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
General things:
Have a point of view but stay open-minded.
Articulate your hypotheses.
Prioritize ruthlessly.
Keep your scope small but focused.
Talk to customers.
Test before you build.
Avoid a local maximum.
Try out promising tools and techniques.
Ensure your team has the right skills
Cultivate your team's collaboration.
A must-have-on-the-bookshelf for anyone building a service, a product, or product features.

It provides a comprehensive overview of all the steps needed to reach product-market fit. Once the reader is familiar with the concepts of this book, he can selectively drill down further into other books for deeper knowledge.
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Dan Olsen is an entrepreneur, consultant, and Lean product expert. He is also the author of The Lean Product Playbook, the missing manual on how to apply Lean Startup to build products that customers love. Learn more at

Dan earned a BS in electrical engineering from Northwestern and an MBA from Stanford. He also earned a master's degree in industrial engineering
“When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can oftentimes arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don't put in the time or energy to get there.” 2 likes
“The Lean Product Process consists of six steps: Determine your target customers Identify underserved customer needs Define your value proposition Specify your minimum viable product (MVP) feature set Create your MVP prototype Test your MVP with customers” 0 likes
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