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I’m writing a series of articles on company culture and how it can affect the quality of your product and service. Checkout my previous articles on company culture:

Here’s the 5th article of this series. This article was originally posted in Mar/2009. As I’m re-reading the book The Great Game of Business, I continue to find the ideas in the book very updated and it just makes sense 7 years later to discuss these concepts again.

Similar to the open source concept used in software development and distribution, there’s a management concept known as open-book management.

The idea is quite simple: the financial reports (the company book) must be open to all employees in order to help them make informed decisions.

The basic rules are:

  • Give employees training to understand the financial information
  • Give employees all relevant financial information
  • Give employees responsibility for the numbers under their control
  • Give employees a financial stake in how the company performs

We cannot apply open-book management from one day to another. People need to be taught on financial book reading and interpretation, but I believe this concept makes sense for any company.

In its simplest form, Open-Book Management is a way of running a company that gets everyone focused on helping the business be successful. Employee goals and accountabilities are tied directly to the success of the company. It teaches all employees what is critical to success and how they can make a difference — both individually and as part of a team. Employees know and understand how they each contribute to the financial performance of the company, in such a way that they truly understand how the business works.

The Great Game draws from the successes and failures of thousands of open-book management practitioners to show how any company can teach its employees:

  • How to think and act like owners
  • How to promote continuous learning at every level of the organization
  • How to fire up employees’ competitive juices
  • How to broaden the concept of leadership
  • How to delegate responsibility for the business
  • How to drive innovation and build value in the business
  • How to improve financial results for the company and themselves

I really like this concept and I’ve been using it for a long time, even without knowing its name. It is easier to do anything if we know the reason for doing it, and open-book management makes the reason very explicit.

For further reading:

Product Management: how to increase the success chances of your software

In 2015 I wrote a book on Software Product Management in Portuguese. In the beginning of 2016, Paulo Caroli talked to me about how he enjoyed the book and how this book could be useful to people in the software industry not only in Brazil but anywhere in the world. For this reason, we decided to create an English version of my book.

The book is organized in 5 sections:

  • Definitions and requirements
  • Life cycle of a software product
  • Relationship with other areas
  • Product portfolio management
  • Where to use software product management

This book is suitable for anyone working with software. Even companies that do not have software as its core business use software in their day to day and often have developed some software that interfaces with its customers such as a website or a mobile application. It is important for these companies to understand the software product management role and responsibilities, so they can better manage this software and increase its chances of success.

We are working on the translation but as we progress we are already releasing the content. If you want to see the work in progress, please visit the book page at LeanPub. Still in beta but already with valuable content. Feedbacks are not only welcome, but needed!

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