Author: Roman Pichler
Publisher: Addison Wesley, 2010
Aimed at: Beginning or prospective product owners
Pros: Clear explanations, well-written
Cons: Doesn't go very far
Reviewed by: Andrew Johnson
You need to pay attention to the title of this book - it's product management not project management. To get anything out of it at all you have to already subscribe to the whole scrum flavour of agile philosophy. You probably also have to be a prospective or current "product owner".
A product owner is roughly speaking the person or entity responsible for the product, its success and its general well being - a definition that could be argued over for hours. The idea is that the role of the product owner is necessary to counteract the "team" mentality where mistakes can be passed off to another and where there is perhaps a lack of focus on the task of building a great product rather than just getting the job done.
This is very slim book and a lot of it is basically the art of the obvious. If you have been working with agile for a while it isn't going to tell you much you don't already know. Chapter 1 starts off the consideration with a look at the product owner's role. Chapter 2 is about envisioning the product and it covers the usual ground but it does so very well and occasionally goes a bit further - minimal marketable product, ways of creating the vision, product variants and finishing up with common mistakes.
Chapter 3 is all about working with the product backlog; Chapter 4 is about planning the release; Chapter 5 is about collaborating in sprint meetings and the final chapter is on transitioning into the product owner role.
The whole book can be best summed up as a guide to scrum from the product owner's point of view. It's well written and hence easy to read. It's also short enough to read and not feel too cheated if it turns out not to be what you are looking for.
It's recommended if you are a beginning product owner or about to have to take on that role.