What’s Your Favorite Book on Building Digital Products/Services?

The responses to my question about your favorite books on innovation were so interesting and useful I can’t help but ask another:

Let’s say you’re a manager charged with developing a software-driven product or service like a website or a mobile service. You already have staff to handle the interface design, programming, and marketing. But you need to figure out a process for creating the product, a process with activities like generating ideas, creating conceptual designs, analyzing business factors, working with partners, etc.

Do you have a favorite book on this topic? And by the way, what term do you use to refer to this?

Again, I’ll start with mine…


  1. Actually, there’s many names that could describe this process, and I’m curious to hear what you have to say without biasing you. So I’ll leave my opinion until later.

    And I haven’t yet found a book like this, but maybe you’ll surprise me.

  2. Is your list of your favorite books on this topic purposefully blank or is my browser missing something? I’ve never heard of a book on this specific topic either but am interested in reading one.

  3. I wrote this post not knowing of a book on the topic, and after doing some research I doubt that one exists.

    I would define this topic essentially as product development, focused on digital, software-driven projects.

    I’m interested in reading one too, but given it’s not out there I’m seriously considering writing it. If I can get a sample together over the next couple weeks I’ll post it on the blog for feedback.

  4. I don’t think there’s one single book currently on the market that hits all of the points you’re looking for. (I know someone who is writing one that will probably be the single closest book to covering these issues, though I’m not sure if this person is ready to publicly announce it yet.)

    There’s a few good ones that cover some of the issues. My personal favorite is Winning at New Products: Accelerating the Process from Idea to Launch by Robert Cooper. It’s not specific to digital/software products, though all of the concepts he discusses certainly apply. It’s geared towards larger companies, so you may find the process he describes a bit constraining, though I’d argue that it’s all there for a reason.

    Software Product Management Essentials by Alissa Dver covers some of the points you describe as well, though I’m not sure if it includes everything you’re looking for. It’s a good book and a quick and easy read.

    I’ve got more info on these books and others on the Resources page on my blog.

  5. I’m with Jeff on that book. WANP is my favorite book on NPD, from the founder of the stage-gate model. It’s dense, but amazingly worth it. It’s more of a business -engineering minded approach to the subject rather than the common industrial design perspective.

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