Product Leadership Marty Cagan

Inspired and Empowered

After a nearly two-year effort, I’m very happy to report that our new book EMPOWERED is finally available for pre-order (hardcover, digital or audio), and scheduled for release worldwide in early December.

In this article, I wanted to explain the reason for the new book, and how it is meant to complement INSPIRED.

As many of you likely know, INSPIRED is aimed at product managers and product teams, and the goal of the book is to share the techniques and best practices for how strong product teams solve hard problems in ways that customers love, yet work for the business.  

INSPIRED spread far beyond anything we had any right to expect, and the book brought my SVPG partners and I into companies all over the world (36 countries and counting!).

But one of the most important and striking learnings we found, is that in so many companies, while it’s not hard to teach the product teams how to work like strong product teams, they are too often not allowed to work that way.

What we realized was that we needed to share not just the best practices of the product teams, but also the best practices of the product leaders.

So as many of you know, over the past few years, we have dialed up our focus on the role of product leadership (the leaders and managers of product managers, product designers, and engineers).  The job of a product leader in an organization with feature teams is so dramatically different than an organization with empowered product teams.

And these are not minor topics.  In an empowered product organization, product leadership responsibilities include coaching and staffing, product vision, team topology, product strategy, team objectives, and working with the extended executive team to transition the organization to truly leveraging these product teams to power their business, rather than treating them as a cost center.  It’s not hard to see how you can very easily fill up 400 pages.

In INSPIRED, in order to make the concepts more tangible, I profiled 6 strong product managers – people you had never heard of, but people that deserved to be noticed.  In EMPOWERED, we profile 8 exceptional product leaders – two leaders of product, two leaders of design, two leaders of engineering, and two leaders of companies.  We’re excited for you to meet them.

The other big goal for this book was to provide an in-depth case study demonstrating how each of these admittedly complex topics is addressed in a substantial size tech product company.

So that’s the purpose of EMPOWERED: Ordinary People; Extraordinary Products.  We hope you find the book helpful.

The publisher is reporting that pre-orders for EMPOWERED have already been unusually strong.  My EMPOWERED co-author Chris Jones and I wanted to do something to thank the people that trusted us enough to pre-order, so we have decided to host a special invite-only AMA on December 17 (two weeks after the book is available so people have a chance to read it first), where we will answer any questions or discuss any topics that you have after reading the book.

If you have already pre-ordered the book (any format, from any retailer), or if you choose to pre-order before December 3, then just forward us a copy of your receipt and we’ll send you a registration link.

Also, for those companies that decide to pre-order at least 100 copies for your leadership team, if you’d like a private AMA, just send us the receipt and we’ll schedule that with you.

One of the reasons the book took a while to get to you is that we have a pretty extensive review process, with help from many of the top minds in product.  Here’s some of their thoughts:

“Every product leader – no – every CEO and senior management team should read this. Now.”

— Phil Terry, Founder, Collaborative Gain; co-author, Customers Included

“Marty and Chris have written the definitive book on product leadership. Their emphasis on coaching as a key leadership skill and the detail on how to do it well, makes EMPOWERED a must-read for new, aspiring, and experienced product leaders alike.”

— Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk

INSPIRED motivated a generation of product managers to build products customers love, and EMPOWERED is the blueprint leaders need to transform their organisations and empower their teams to deliver on that inspiration.”

— Martin Eriksson, Co-Founder, Mind the Product

“If you’re leading product people or even the whole product organization of your company, this book is for you. It’s the first book to outline the underlying philosophy behind stellar product organizations from a leader’s perspective, and its many examples make it easy to understand these concepts and apply them in your company’s environment.”

— Petra Wille, Product Leadership Coach

EMPOWERED is a must-read for product leaders in the same way INSPIRED is unquestionably the most influential book in tech product management.”

— Felipe Castro, Founder, OutcomeEdge

“This is the missing guide to product leadership. It gave me the tools, mindset, and practical insights to excel in my role. I fully expect to come back to this book on a recurring basis – as I do with INSPIRED. EMPOWERED needs to be on the shelf of all product leaders and aspiring product leaders.

— Gabrielle Bufrem, Manager of Product Management, VMware

EMPOWERED dives deep into the tough organizational and cultural issues that get in the way of most companies I work with today. This is the experience and advice I’ve been waiting for in one book.”

— Jeff Patton, Product Process and Design Coach

EMPOWERED is full of actionable straight talk for anyone looking to understand how the best product teams operate. The book demonstrates that great product companies aren’t made by magic–the structure and leadership of the whole product development organization creates the environment for success.”

— Holly Hester-Reilly, Founder, H2R Product Science

You can learn more here about what people think, where to buy, and how to order in bulk.

If you decide to read the book, please let us know what you think.