The Role of Communication in Product Management: IPL Knowledge Series

A product management role involves paying heed to demands from many other departments like engineering and design, marketing and business development etc. Being a Product Manager, a significant amount of your time gets consumed in communicating ideas, plans, designs, and assigning tasks to other teams. This majorly involves a huge chunk of work right from sending e-mails and communicating decisions to presentations, communicating product roadmaps or product designs specifications.

Given the prominent part that communication has in a product management role, it becomes necessary to think about how you can effectively improve the communications you have at every level in the organisation.

Frequent and Clear Communication

In order to be a gatekeeper of great user experience, remember that you need to be a great communicator as well. If you wish to help your team do a good job, then effective communication is perhaps the best gift you can bestow upon your team. That would entail including them in the planning process, ensuring that they understand why a specific feature is needed, and clearly defining requirements and priorities. The secret to being able to ship according to plan is creating simple yet comprehensive specifications, which in turn increases the chance of the engineer delivering on time and on spec.

Be natural and authentic. Executives long for more than facts. They appreciate evidence which is delivered with conviction and truth. They aspire your expertise, advice and strong decision-making skills.

As a Product Manager you should be able to sense your team’s need of certain information from you at different points; the development process will get all the more smoother if you are able to foresee their need before they bring it upto you.

    • Communicating your vision in a product management role

What does a compelling product vision communicate to the audience you are targeting? It should clearly elaborate the distinct problem you are solving, and the unique solution by which you’ll win the market.

It is vital to have a concise and clear version of your vision. This will force you to carefully consider each word you include and validate if it’s indeed appropriate to what you’re trying to achieve.

    • Communicating your product design in a product management role

A chunk of your time as a product manager goes into designing product interactions with your design team and then communicating that product design to your engineering team. Speed of iteration is extremely important when working with your design team. And when communicating the finalized product designs to your engineering team, it is duly necessary to 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. This will ensure that the product design is engrained in the team.

    • Communicating day-to-day execution in a product management role

Majority of your time as a product manager goes into day-to-day execution. It helps to have a process to ensure no small task or bug gets forgotten and so the highest priority tasks are to be effectively communicated to the team.

Also ensure that you send out  monthly status emails to your team, providing a summary of progress and more importantly  communicating how that progress fits into the larger picture of overall execution against the roadmap.

These tips will help significantly improve your communication across the core responsibilities of design, vision, and execution.