• Escaping the Build Trap

  • How Effective Product Management Creates Real Value
  • By: Melissa Perri
  • Narrated by: Erin deWard
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (423 ratings)

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Escaping the Build Trap  By  cover art

Escaping the Build Trap

By: Melissa Perri
Narrated by: Erin deWard
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Publisher's Summary

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 great product management can help companies solve real customer problems while achieving business goals. By understanding how to communicate and collaborate within a company structure, you can create a product culture that benefits both the business and the customer. You'll learn product management principles that can be applied to any organization, big or small.

In five parts, this book explores:

  • Why organizations ship features rather than cultivate the value those features represent
  • How to set up a product organization that scales
  • How product strategy connects a company's vision and economic outcomes back to the product activities
  • How to identify and pursue the right opportunities for producing value through an iterative product framework
  • How to build a culture focused on successful outcomes over outputs 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Melissa Perri (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Escaping the Build Trap

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Why so condescending?

I loved the content and it made a lot of sense. Why were the male characters portrayed as stupid with the condescending voice-over? Likewise, the female characters were unfairly portrayed as weak. Not sure if that was the books intent but the reading was bad in my opinion.

3 people found this helpful

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Distractingly soft narration

The narrator's voice is suited to bedtime stories for children, not business advice. I had a hard time focusing on the content of the book her voice was so soft and saccharine. I just couldn't take the book seriously.

3 people found this helpful

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Please have a different voice over

The content itself is great but the voice is really really bad. I had a hard to finish, this is not a bedtime story. I ended up buying the book itself to read.

2 people found this helpful

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Terrible narration

Great content. The worst and most annoying narrator for a non fiction book. You don’t need to change your voice for every piece of dialogue.

2 people found this helpful

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Odd narration practice

I am enjoying the content of this book and it seems to be valuable and on point. However the narrator’s practice of altering her voice to sound deeper and gruffer when quoting men is really distracting. Imagine if a male narrator put on a higher pitched voice to indicate he was quoting a woman…he’d be labelled sexist! It detracts from the quotes themselves.

2 people found this helpful

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Good insights, inappropriate delivery

The story is well crafted but I was much distracted by over acting of the reader making it not sound like a business book but fiction.

2 people found this helpful

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A comprehensive tour to being a tech product manager

Tech products are complex beasts invented by humans. They require an operating system that can react quickly and nimbly and yet remain focused on a strategic vision.
As such, a product manager (or product owner in an agile development setting) is one of the hardest and most important roles to succeed as a product led organization.
This book provides a comprehensive guided tour for the PM role, from understanding what is a product led organization, how to enable product teams turn a product vision and strategy into viable options, through how to shape a product led organization in a structure set up for success. By structure I mean not only org structure but also roles, artifacts, flow and emergence of knowledge and more.
The book, imho, falls short on two aspects:
- the linkage between organizational agility and a product led organization. There are some examples of how poor agile practices hinder a mindset of a product led organization. But not how real agility is key to turning concept to cash quickly and effectively.
- the description of required meetings and procedures in the third part feels over prescriptive. Maybe Perri meant them as an example. I understood them as how it should work.
To me it feels that the excellent explanations and examples for utilizing experimentation in the product management concepts are missing on these aspects of a product led organization.
That being said, the book gets an easy 5 star rating from me as one of the best books on PM I have read/listened to.

1 person found this helpful

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Hope for those of us still stuck in the trap

This is a must-read for anyone currently undergoing organizational transformation to the product model including; product managers, designers, engineers, and senior leadership. This perfectly illustrates the big picture vision while outlining steps needed to achieve the shift in product mindset within your organization. I’m recommending for my whole team.

1 person found this helpful

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Required reading for any software industry manager

Loved it, it has a lot of valuable information for anyone getting into PM, working with PMs or needing to understand what they do.

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Focus on the Vision

Research based book filled with crucial nuggets to successful product management.
It clarifies what product manager’s responsibilities are.
The author did a great job explaining the importance of “focusing on the solid vision until your goal is accomplished.” Which in return sustain organization in the coming years.
Product Managers’ role in “knowing the product is the right thing to build” is essential!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-20

Solid content for starter Product Managers

Excellent foundation for early PMs. Narrator's attempt to mimic characters unnecessary and cringey. Would recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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  • David Avis
  • 05-03-21

Excellent book really unusual voice over

The voice over on this is really distracting. Unusual enunciation, strange deeper and lighter tones - very distracting to the content and found myself wondering off on that / tuning out because of it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fredrik Wendt
  • 10-03-21

Awesome and dangerous

The vast majority of this book is excellent in short: everything product wise. However there are some leadership/organizational design ideas which will stifle exactly what the book wants to foster/create. The upside is that this is only a small part of the book, and mostly not connected to or impacting the great content.

1 person found this helpful

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  • John
  • 11-23-22

Male Voice Impressions

Amazing book, but… CEO/C-level characters are narrated with a masculine(?) voice impression. Not sure if this is intentional or simply an unfortunate narration choice.

Simply imagine characters from a specific line of work being narrated by a man with a feminine voice impression and you’ll get why this was not a good idea.

(Yes, i’m well aware that only ~%20 of companies worldwide have women CEOs.)

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  • Zena Amos
  • 07-05-22

Every Product Team and SMT should read!

It takes the ideas and principles from Outcomes over Outputs, and describes a teams journey in innovating, iterating and reviewing success.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-22

super insightful with very practical examples

loved it
full of practical examples on how to become product lead. would recommend it to anyone who's tired of simply building features and shift their mindset to be outcome driven.

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  • timeflies
  • 03-14-22

Good nuggets of information, badly presented

The book starts off really slowly and I almost stopped listening. However it contains useful information later on, so I recommend skipping the first (few) chapters.

Narration sounds quite robotic/unnatural, but I managed to get over that.

Style of the book is not for me. It's somehow quite fake / over the top, like books by many American authors. The main storyline using a fictitious company that goes through all the mistakes that are convenient for the story with the author always helping out at the right moment (while emphasizing how it's really the team doing all the great work) comes off as contrived. Still the actual lessons are good, so it can be worth listening for some.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-22

Great book, terrible narrator

This book is essential reading for Product Managers, but Melissa should have done the read. This narrator can be tolerable or even good in fiction, but it was a real struggle to listen to her reading this.

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  • KatieTM
  • 04-22-22

A must read for product companies!

If you are in the product business, regardless of the level of your role, you must read this book. We read it as a team in our book club at my company, with all the product managers, experience designers and our leaders. It’s been a game changer! Can’t recommend it enough.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-30-22

Great struggle summary

Great summary of the struggles vast majority of companies go through when trying to be agile, customer centric and product led.. driven bottom up, with no exec support and/or understanding.

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  • KJ
  • 09-08-21

mind-blowing product reality for any PM

Insightful for any PM at any stage. it gives you insight into the mind of leading worldclass PM and problems faced at organizations and how to navigate them.

absolutely loved it and will buy a hard copy.

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  • Bruno
  • 04-04-21

Great read for product managers at any level

Melissa uses a fictional company to illustrate how a company can scape de "build trap" (build a list of features instead of solving problems, output Vs outcomes), via a product Kata (continuous improvements via experiments), becoming a product-led organisation. A book to read and revisit many times.

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  • Richard
  • 07-16-20

Great content. Great narrator. Highly recommended

Very likely my favourite product management book so far — it really lives up to the hype! It's relatable, practical and I just couldn't put it down.

Special shout out to the narrator too. She did a fantastic job!