THE ROLE OF COMMUNICATION IN PRODUCT MANAGEMENT

When you are in a product management role, demands are placed on you from many different areas – from engineering and design, to marketing and business development and as a Product Manager, you spend a significant amount of your time communicating ideas, plans, designs, and assigning tasks to their teams, which involves everything right from sending e-mails and communicating decisions to presentations, communicating product roadmaps or product designs specifications.

Given this, it’s worth spending time in a product management role thinking about how you can effectively improve the communications at various levels you have with your team.

Communicate clearly and frequently

Remember to be a gatekeeper of great user experience; you need to be a great communicator as well. Effective communication is perhaps the best gift you can bestow upon your team in order to help them do a good job. This means including them in the planning process, ensuring that they understand why you need a specific feature, and clearly defining requirements and priorities. Creating simple yet comprehensive specifications increases the chance of the engineer delivering on time and on spec, and as a result, allows you to ship according to plan.

Be natural. Be authentic. Executives want more than facts. They want evidence delivered with conviction and truth. They desire your expertise, advice and decision-making skills.

As a Product Manager you should have an underlying sense for what information your team needs from you at different points; try to foresee their needs before they arise in order to make the development process as smooth as possible.

● How to communicate your vision in a product management role?
A compelling product vision communicates the audience you are targeting, the distinct problem you are solving, and the unique solution by which you’ll win the market.

It’s extremely important to come up with a succinct and clear version of your vision. In doing so, you’re forced to carefully consider each word you include to understand if it’s really commensurate to what you’re trying to achieve.

● How to communicate your product design in a product management role?
Much of your time as a product manager is spent designing product interactions with your design team and then communicating that product design to your engineering team. When working with your design team, speed of iteration is highly important. And when it comes to communicating finalized product designs to your engineering team, it’s important at that point to definitely have high fidelity mock-ups with real user data as well as design specs that provide details on the UI as well as interaction behavior.

● How to communicate day-to-day execution in a product management role?
The vast majority of your time as a product manager is spent in day-to-day execution. You need to have a process to ensure no small task or bug gets forgotten so try to convey effective communication of the highest priority tasks to the team.

Also ensure that you send out weekly or monthly status emails to provide a summary of progress and more importantly to communicate how that progress fits into the larger picture of overall execution against the roadmap.

These tips will help you in a couple of ways that you can significantly improve your communication across the core responsibilities of design, vision, and execution.

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March 6, 2017

The Role of Communication in Product Management

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