4 Communication Tools for Product Managers
What Is Product Management?
In a digital innovation setting, product managers bridge the gaps between design, development and business stakeholders, ensuring all branches are working toward the same business and user-centric goals. On a tactical level, they translate business goals and product strategy into a big-picture roadmap and plan of action, and are accountable for end-product delivery.
As “servants to all but master to none” product managers must effectively inspire and equip a variety of teams and individuals who, without them, would likely become fragmented and siloed.
>> Bridge the gap between design and development with user stories. Write your own user stories to communicate vision in a non-subjective format. Download the free template and step-by-step guide.
#1 Product Management Skill: Communication
One of the most important and challenging jobs of a product manager is cultivating alignment among stakeholders around shared vision for a product. This requires sophisticated communication and interpersonal skills, including:
The ability to understand and connect with clients, users and teams and reconcile their contradicting points of view
The ability to “read the room” and pick up on what’s not being said
- An aptitude for helping others see their roles in light of big-picture vision
- The ability to initiate graceful yet assertive conversations with clients and teams to keep work on-track with vision
Exude confidence and trust in the teams they work with, coaching them through doubt and discouragement with positivity and conviction
4 Indispensable Communication Tools
So much of a product manager’s success depends on how well they can empower and equip others to execute on product vision.
We have found these four tools to be extremely helpful in keeping both teams and clients aligned and on-track with user and business-centric direction.
1. Weekly Syncs
Weekly, standardized meetings allow product managers the opportunity to bring clients up to speed with progress toward major milestones of business value.
Rather than allowing these meetings to drift into task updates and “checklist mode,” weekly syncs should consistently reinforce big-picture vision for both the client and product manager.
We use CommandView® to provide structure for purposeful and valuable weekly syncs. Learn more about CommandView® software project reporting and analytics.
TeamGantt is a planning tool that tracks connected tasks from beginning to end within a project. TeamGantt’s dependency tracker ensures tasks are done in the correct order to keep workflow smooth and efficient.
Organized on a per-task basis, it’s a programmatic way of checking off tasks in succession. With built in notifications and an easy-to-use dashboard, TeamGantt helps product managers diagnose roadblocks and show teams how their work fits into the big picture.
Among other products, Atlassian offers two platforms that can be critically helpful for creating alignment and shared vision.
- Jira is helpful for assigning tasks and managing development progress. The system can also keep track of task-related details like deadlines and documents
- Confluence functions as a sort of wiki, or a repository for storing information. Confluence is where all documents, files and information related to the project are stored. It’s easily searchable, and permissions can be adjusted to grant access to various people in the organization.
Confluence offers visibility into versioning, document authorship and other details, facilitating collaboration. Documents such as the project wikipedia, team charters, roles and responsibilities, and working hours may be stored in Confluence.
ProductPlan allows product managers to create beautiful and streamlined roadmaps quickly and easily. With ProductPlan, product managers can plan, visualize and communicate to teams from a single place. The tool allows for alignment across teams and departments and ensures everyone is aware of project status.
ProductPlan enables product managers to prioritize initiatives, plan and score, and capture future opportunities so they don’t get lost. Using this tool allows for standardization of the roadmapping process to enable better project decisions.
Write Your Own User Stories with Gherkin Syntax (Free Template & Step-by-Step Guide)
User stories express software requirements in a non-subjective, outcomes-oriented format. They help teams prevent misunderstandings and save time communicating vision.
Download our free template and step-by-step guide, and learn to write your own user stories with Gherkin Syntax.