Finally! The book I wish we had for all the years I taught in the UW Software Product Management (SPM) Certificate Program. Business Model Generation markets itself as “A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers” but is equally suited for product managers who want to understand their product’s and company’s business models as context for better execution and decision-making.
Based on the Business Model Canvas, the book illustrates five basic business model patterns and provides examples from current market leaders, from Legos to Google. The book then goes on to present techniques for designing and validating business models, and viewing strategy through the business model/business canvas lens. It wraps up by suggesting a business model design process that ties all the elements of the book together.
In our work with product management teams within companies as well as with students in the SPM program, we’ve noted that product managers are often tasked with only a slice of the product life-cycle and product management process (often focused just on product requirements). They lack the bigger picture in terms of both product strategy and product business performance. While we realize that not every product manager will be responsible for product strategy and business performance, we do know that understanding the bigger picture helps product managers execute on their piece of it far more effectively. Had we been able to share only the five basic patterns explained in Business Model Generation, our SPM teams would have been better able to understand everything from channel and partner program requirements to feature prioritization to product launch strategies.
So we’re adding this book to our Product Manager’s Bookshelf list with a 5-star recommendation.