Content Review - Escaping The Build Trap

Melissa Perri experienced this feeling of being sure she was doing her product role perfectly.  She started as a product manager, and that’s where she began realizing something was wrong with her job. She was, indeed, shipping great documents & features, but reality got thrown in her face when her company measured the success of her products. This is how she found what prevented her company from shaping the right products; they got stuck in the Build Trap.

Here are the key elements you need to know about Escaping The Build Trap!

What's the Build Trap?

A product team enters the Build Trap (also known as the Feature Factory) when it is bound to think more about outputs rather than outcomes. They’re compelled to ship new features without thinking about the value they deliver to their users. For Melissa, this problem is more common than it seems.

Throughout the book, Melissa will introduce us to Marquetly, a fictional company stuck in the Build Trap.

Constantly following stakeholders, customer requests & quarterly deadlines, Marquetly doesn’t have the time to align their teams to the overall vision, & take a step back over what they’re shipping. Thanks to this example, Melissa will be here to help the company iterate on what they’ve done wrong, & how to escape the trap they put themselves into. She’ll implement real product management practices to track the value of what the team builds, & iterate better on what to do next in order to maximize business & customer value.

The Product Death Cycle, for example, outlines a specific iteration of the build trap. This is where your customers give you what to build, & you do it for them.
Prioritizing customer feedback over product vision is only one way to enter the Build Trap.
However, your customers aren’t supposed to come up with solutions. It’s your job.

The Product Death Cycle by David J. Bland
The Product Death Cycle, by David J. Bland, featured in Escaping The Build Trap

The book is also packed with a lot of real case studies. Those practices are made easy to assimilate thanks to clear & comprehensive storytelling. To inform the reader on the product teams’ common pitfalls that land them inside the Build Trap, Melissa Perri will redefine the product management career & roles inside organizations, & how any company could become product-led.

The Product-Led Organization

Becoming a product-led organisation is one of the major things companies should do to escape the build trap.

Unlike a sales-led organisation which lets their contracts define their product strategy, being product-led means evaluating your strategy based on meeting your outcomes, & letting product teams get close to their customer. In the long run, this way of managing a company develops a culture where every team (not just product) can thrive & reiterate if needed.

Building with intent is at the core of product-led organisations.

It is not delivering, but rather achieving outcomes 

This book stands out as a staple in Product Culture.  This is one very useful handbook for CEO’s, entrepreneurs & product people that need to redefine their strategy & vision across all their company.

If you want to dive more into Melissa Perri’s vision on product management & the Build Trap?, check out this insightful conference she held during Mind The Product’s #mtpcon