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Escaping the Build Trap: How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 ratings  ·  191 reviews

To stay competitive in today’s market, organizations need to adopt a culture of customer-centric practices that focus on outcomes rather than outputs. Companies that live and die by outputs often fall into the "build trap," cranking out features to meet their schedule rather than the customer’s needs.

In this book, Melissa Perri explains how laying the foundation for

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by O'Reilly Media
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Adrian Howard
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A super book. If you’re struggling to become a product-led organisation then this needs to be on your bookshelf. From organisational culture to the product management role Melissa has delivered a great guide to spotting and solving the problems companies have shifting from an output to an outcome focus. I’ve already bought several copies for my clients. If you have 'product' in your job title - get a copy. ...more
Paul Brown
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Product-led company nirvana and how to get there

Apart from the fact that the 6 questions at the back of the book make it worth the read all on their own, the rest of this great book covers what it take to build a true product-led company where anything (everything) is possible. I really enjoyed the flow of the narrative as the book progresses and how Melisa points out so many things which caused me to think ah-ha! If I had one critique I’d ask for more visuals linking key ideas and concepts toge
Andrea Hill
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read this since it came out, and finally got a chance the past few days.
I've read a lot of product/UX/strategy books, but this is going to become my new book to recommend to people (in fact, I already did this morning!).
Melissa does a great job at sharing a lot of practical advice through a bit of storytelling, making it easy to read and understand. The short chapters break things up so you don't feel overwhelmed with information.
I will say that the parts about 'strategic
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A nice read on product management, and most importantly on being outcome focused. the examples in the book are very relatable and can give any product manager or product owner some good ideas on how to make changes in their own environment to get a step closer to becoming outcome oriented, rather than output oriented.
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! I currently lead a small Product organization and have created a great list of takeaways from this book. Melissa does a great job of articulating the steps along the journey to become a product-led organization focused on outcomes, not outputs. I also appreciate the format and depth in this book. It was relatively quick to read, easy to understand, and focused on providing just enough content to help the reader grasp the concepts and get energized to mature their Product organization ...more
Bartosz Pranczke
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The build trap (i.e. adding features instead of solving problems) is probably the most common offence in the IT world. The book is short but it manages to cover a lot of important topics: experimentation, outcome vs output, product management vs project management, incentives, policies and other important factors to become a product-led organisation.

It will help you to put focus on the "why" of the product instead of only on the "what", "when" and "how". Without a valid "why", the other parts s
Aeon Chang
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
With great hope, I start to read this book but just got fairly disappointed in the middle. Although this book provides good examples of specific situations: PMs rushing to solutions instead of focusing on the reason, it failed to provide deep insight in all aspect it inspired to address.
The strategy section is blend, boring and simply an endless repetition of buzzwords without explaining the true meaning behind or any relatable examples. After reading Lean Start-up, the comparison is even clear
Barry O'Reilly
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Highly recommend for product leaders at all levels

Melissa has created a highly relatable and actionable book for product leaders at all levels. If you are curious to lead or create a product-centric organization and culture this is the book for you.
Manas Saloi
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think I will gift this book to all aspiring PMs :)
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: learning
Very clear overview of what it means to be an outcome- (i.e. product) -focused company in the 21st century.
No technical jargon, large focus on the career and responsibilities of a "product manager" and why you might need them in your teams & organization. Spoiler: it's not just about vomiting out requirements. It really isn't just a new job ad. It's moving towards a new organizational culture.

Not just targeted toward young startups, this book provides next steps for every kind of organization.

Claire Lee
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a PM book I’m going to revisit again and again. Melissa puts words to a problem I’ve experienced but haven’t been able to describe, and hearing that this problem isn’t unique is comforting in itself. She then goes into what companies that are product-led look like, and addresses how to handle roadmaps, de-risk launches through experimentation, and other invaluable practices PMs can start vouching for and acting on.
Niklas Heer
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tb-agile
This book opened my eyes to the importance of product management.
It contains many interesting insights about what it means to move from an output-based company to a product lead company.
I think the ideas in the book builds on the views from the book "The Lean Startup", but I don't believe you have to read it beforehand.
I recommend this book to everyone wanting to learn how to build good products.
Ilja Vi
Mar 25, 2021 rated it liked it
I had too high expectations for this book given all the advance praise I came across. I had also really enjoyed some of Melissa Perri's blog articles I had come across earlier. Unfortunately, for me, the book didn't live up to the expectations. There are some really good bits and it's an easy read. However, there were lot's of things that didn't work for me at all. I didn't find the "Marquetly" story (an imaginative company learning to become product-led) relatable nor inspiring. I found the str ...more
Ahmad hosseini
Nov 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: management, startup
What is a build trap?
The build trap is when organizations become stuck measuring their success by outputs rather than outcomes. It’s when they focus more on shipping and developing features rather than on the actual value those things produce.
Book explains about product management and mistakes that organizations and product managers make at product management and provides solutions for them.
What is product management?
escaping the build trap book review

Product management is the domain of recognizing and investigating the known unk
Gustavo Guiomar
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read for Product Managers.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is by far one of the most on point
and actionable books on product management I have ever read.
Mattias Altin
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book, I wish I'd read it years ago ...more
John Wargo
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, really enjoyed it.
Calvin McCafferty
Jan 20, 2021 rated it liked it
The descent continues... Stay tuned for more spicy, 3-star reviews of product management books that I get from work.

Not particularly well written, but I learned a thing or two. 3 stars.
Fernando Salas
Apr 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book to get your company or team to be product-led. Especially instructive when talking about company wide product strategy.
Boni Aditya
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of the best books that a Product Manager could get their hands upon.

She has captured the concept of building for the sake of building very effectively and the importance of having a framework for the right way to make a product.

The Need to have a product strategy framework and the need to have a product strategy deployment framework before the organization even thinks about building a product is amazing.

The way the author has derived the Product Kata from Toyota Kata is p
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
I really enjoyed this book. It's practical and has a good story. I think my only question for Melissa would be - what was the development team working on while all this research was going on to find the right solution? It sounds like PMs had a lot of time to think and do research, which isn't the case in all organizations - I'm curious about advice for finding time to balance being the Product Owner for the team and doing the heavy-duty research to discover problems.

Overall, loved it. Lots of go
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you want the book on why startups beat incumbents at product management, this is it.
Piyush Devani
May 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really good and precise insights into the world of Product Management.
As a new Product Manager, I started reading this book to see how the world is doing Product and some concepts and use-cases were too real that I could easily imagine myself into those situation and compare how I handled it and how I could have done better.
Definitely a worthy read for PMs, Product Leaders and organisations who are not yet outcome oriented.
John Peltier
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Best book on Product that I've read yet. Not for you if you're looking for a scrum rituals guide. This is about how to effectively manage products, and manage the function of product management.

In contrast to most of the book, the last section about incentives, culture etc. feels brief and forced whereas the earlier sections are more verbose and in depth. That said, lots of good material for aspiring CPOs.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked how Melissa Perri is outlining how to do effective discovery for products in this book. The book is built around a made-up company in the e-learning sector. She explains how she coaches a team and the organization on how to find out what to build. So the book is in big portions written in conversations between her and the product manager. In between, she explains frameworks and her 'product kata' which is her central approach.

In difference to other books on this topic like 'Inspir
Pankaj Kumar
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A nicely written book on developing a product org. The author touches upon at a very high level the fundamentals of product development, strategy, and org structure that can create a successful product company. Although the book gives a good overview, I found it to be lacking depth in terms of discussing fundamentals, and discusses them at a very high level. For instance, she talks about frameworks that are used to design great products, and has given references to other books, but it would have ...more
Arun Ravindran
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Was a fantastic business book full of practical advice. Many books focus on the product manager role definitions and frameworks, but ignore the day to day realities. This book addresses the common problems and hurdles that you may face as a product manager and how to address them.

EDIT: The only criticism would be the extreme business focus of product development. This might be suited for well-understood solution domains. But if you are thinking of really innovative products like a self-driving
Jagan Ganti
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first half of the book is a fast page turner - with nostalgic moments and PM experiences from the past getting reminded as I nod in acknowledgement to what the author shares.
And the later half of the book dealt with process, frameworks, examples and well explained scenario in a day-to-day PM life.

Not every company is Amazon / Google / Netflix - to get efficiency in adapting a framework / PM process. While examples from these companies are used, I liked it that the various processes discusse
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book. It's somewhere between a 101 and a 102 level book. A good and contemporary overview of product management with lots of concepts you can dive deeper into. Also, a fun revision for practitioners like me. The concepts are explained with a crisp story line that runs parallel to idea introductions, making things easier to relate to. ...more
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25 likes · 6 comments
“When companies do not understand their customers’ or users’ problems well, they cannot possibly define value for them. Instead of doing the work to learn this information about customers, they create a proxy that is easy to measure. “Value” becomes the quantity of features that are delivered, and, as a result, the number of features shipped becomes the primary metric of success.” 1 likes
“Strategy is a deployable decision-making framework, enabling action to achieve desired outcomes, constrained by current capabilities, coherently aligned to the existing context.” 1 likes
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