Book Reviews

Book Review: Escaping the Build Trap

This is a book “review” of Escaping the Build Trap by Melissa Perri.

First, I put the word: review in quotations because I’m no true reviewer.  I will share my opinions but they are strictly my opinions.  I highly recommend always reading for yourself.

Second, I am completely biased when it comes to this book – really this author.  Melissa and I have known each other for several years now.  I’ve had the privilege of experiencing firsthand her knowledge, talent, passion, and energy that I knew would translate well into a valuable book.

Now disclaimers aside, I enjoyed reading this book…here’s why:

  • I’ve seen too many organizations build for the sake of building (an example build trap) and then wonder why market share is declining.  The content of this book will unlock many insightful areas for leaders and organizations to improve.
  • Melissa highlights the dangers of being output-focused (how many features did we release) with numerous stories that illustrate why output goals rarely (if ever) achieve success.  That to be product-led means to focus on outcomes (did customers find our product/services valuable).
  • Too often, I don’t have a great resource to point interested product people into learning more about this craft and the role of product management (and how it differs from other roles).  This book fixes that challenge.  Melissa highlights the role with a detailed explanation and growth possibilities for individuals, as well as, what organizations need to consider for success.
  • An element that I wasn’t expecting (I should have but I just didn’t) was the focus on the bigger system dynamics to being product-led to escape the build trap.  Budgeting, rewards, culture, team structure, etc are all referenced as contributing to becoming and staying a product-led organization.
  • Wonderful references and examples of various types of strategy, experimentation, and frameworks to aid a product manager’s success.
  • Sometimes when I know a person, their writing or speaking delivery feels like a completely different person.  Not in this case. There were moments of her humor shining through.  There were moments of her passioned vents on full display.  And there were vulnerable moments of her learning and humility.
  • And there was a ton of great statements and points regarding the value and necessity of learning, as leaders, as team members, and as organizations.  This was obviously going to appeal to my heart!
  • Ok.  I clearly should have read this sooner.  I own that it sat on my shelf for way too long.  I’ve struggled with reading “business” books at home.  Typically, I do that reading in the airport and that hasn’t happened much lately.  Yet, when I started reading, the pages flew by.  The chapters were focused and short.  I found myself bookmarking many pages for notes, posts, recommendations, etc.

Congrats Melissa, this book is really going to help so many people!

I would recommend this book – bias or not.   

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.