January 24

Communicating within the organization

While product managers may not be the CEO of the product, you may be the switchboard operator of the product. You frequently take on the responsibility of making sure the right people get the right information about your product at the right time and get reactions to that information. Keeping all the information flowing may not be a glamorous job, but it’s an important one.

Optimizing internal product communications. As a product manager, you spend a lot of your time communicating with other people in your organization. “There are high-level communication and discussion, and there’s low-level interaction with stakeholders about the day-to-day of the product’s development and operation.” Daniel Zacarias has found a simple exercise that brings a lot of clarity to how we can structure our communication about the product with stakeholders. It’s about breaking down each bit of information you need to transmit (or get) into 4 components: content, audience, timing, and format.

(via @listentodaniel)

Mastering effective communication as a product manager. “Product managers spend much of their time communicating ideas, plans, designs, and tasks to their teams. This includes everything from emails communicating decisions, to presentations communicating product roadmaps, to specs communicating product designs, to bug tickets communicating errors in the product.” If you communicate well with your team, you’ll improve the cohesion, motivation, and inspiration of your team. Sachin Rekhi shares some good practices for effective communication around vision, design, and execution.

(via @sachinrekhi)

What Is a Product Management Communication Plan? As a product manager, you are the nexus of the product. You’re the place all information must flow through. Feedback and ideas flow into the product team through you, and updates flow out of the product team through you. That’s a lot of communicating. It’s such a burden that you become buried in communication tasks and struggle to find time to lead your product team. The folks from Underway explain that ad hoc communications just aren’t sufficient and how to build a PM communication plan.

(via @underway)

A Product Manager Communication Survival Guide.  The burden of communicating among teams, in between departments, and being the go-to get-it-done-guy/gal for CEOs and managers tends to fall heavily on your shoulders. You often orchestrate the exchange of ideas, conduct collaborative brainstorming sessions, and ensure that vital data reaches its destination, broken down into what we call Little Data, the understandable, actionable molecules. And you do it over and over and over again, rephrasing the same information fifty different ways, for fifty different people, all using it in different ways. Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré provides some suggestions on how you can tame this communication beast.

(via @NikkiElizDemere)

How to Communicate Your Product Roadmap to Stakeholders. In today’s world, “you can’t simply move neatly from creating your roadmap to sharing your roadmap to executing your plans. The process is iterative, and communication is part of every step.” This communication goes both ways. You keep everyone apprised of the product’s progress, and get feedback from several channels. Maddy Kirsch discusses how to communicate with stakeholders at each stage of the product lifecycle, as well as how to secure stakeholder buy-in on your roadmaps.

(via @ProductPlan)

Kent J McDonald

About the author

Kent J McDonald writes about and practices software product management. He has product development experience in a variety of industries including financial services, health insurance, nonprofit, and automotive. Kent practices his craft with a variety of product teams and provides just in time resources for product people at KBP.media and Product Collective. When not writing or product managing, Kent is his family’s #ubersherpa, listens to jazz and podcasts (but not necessarily podcasts about jazz), and collects national parks.


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