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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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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.

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Excellent book

I really enjoyed listening to this book. This was exactly what I needed. The narrator did a fantastic job with the narration. I recommend this to anyone who is a product manager or aspires to be one

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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.

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Yes, I’d recommend this.

I’ve been reading on product for several years now. What I found in this book is consistent with what I’ve read in other respected books. The author references the ones you have probably read already toward the end and not in an unhelpful way.

I have the book and the Audible recording the Audible recording was excellent and the book has excellent visuals to complement the writing.

I’ll likely revisit this book as I work to make sure I’m growing as a product professional.

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One of the best products books I've read

Melissa does an excellent job of laying out a framework to achieve a product led organization by examining the issues that cause the build trap. It offers real experiences and practical advice. I highly recommend it!

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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.

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Must-Read AND Must-Listen

Not only is this book a must-read for any Product Manager, but the captivating narration by Erin deWard is a must-listen.

There will be the inevitable comparisons to Marty Cagan’s “Inspired”, but for Product Managers I’d say “Escaping The Build Trap” beats out “Inspired”. Whereas Cagan’s book evangelizes companies, especially CEOs, to become product-led organizations, here Melissa Perri provides a framework with actionable steps for Product Managers and Product Leaders to actually make it happen.

Furthermore, the audiobook for “Inspired” was plagued with inconsistent narration; the listener can clearly hear where re-recorded sections were cut into the original mix, usually at a slightly slower narration pace or with a noticeably less enthusiastic tone, which I found highly distracting. In “Escaping The Build Trap”, Erin deWard’s narration is a highly engaging and a pleasure to listen to. She keeps her tone consistent throughout, and the sound mixing is exceptional—it almost sounds as if the book had been recorded in a seamless take. Bravo!

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Great Product Management Primer & Resource

If you’re interested in becoming a product manager, newly in the product role, or even an experienced product leader - Escaping the Build Trap is a fantastic resource and one of my foundational product books.

One of the key takeaways is to not fall in love with the solution, but to fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve for customers and the business.

I won’t do Melissa a disservice by trying to sum up this book. I will say that her product kata, coaching and insights are invaluable nuggets of wisdom for anyone in the product space.

This is also one of those rare instances where I’ve double-dipped: I love audiobooks, but I felt this was a book I needed to have a hard copy of as well.

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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.

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Essential reading for any PM or product executive

Love the content, this book is brilliant! I'm going to come back to it later so I can really absorb the info.

Narration, though... It seemed like the narrator made every woman's voice sound quavering. That was annoying. I think she was trying to distinguish the male and female voices, but took it too far.

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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.

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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.

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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!