Friday, March 22, 2013

Product Management: Communication priority

Product manager needs to be a masterful communicator.  Information must flow from product manager to engineering, marketing, sales and support group.  No other role has as much direct visibility from all departments as PM role does.  That's because any question on product behavior or roadmap will ultimately be answered by PM.  In order to educate and empower everyone in the organization to influence the product, PM must be talking to all departments.

That's just the internal communication.  PM must also speak to customers to find out how the product is getting used and deployed, find out the areas to improve, and identify future opportunities even before customers can clearly articulate the problem.

That's a lot to handle.  All departments, all key customers, and let's not forget executive team.  Everyone of them are important constituents to design, make, sell, support and enhance the product.

But what no one told me was that there are unwritten rule in communication priority.  Just like everything else in life, scarce resource must be managed carefully to move towards meeting objectives.

Here's what I found from my experience in the order of priority:

  1. Customers with immediate pending deals for the quarter
  2. Big customers
  3. All other customers
  4. CEO
  5. Direct boss
  6. Sales / Sales Engineers
  7. Customer Success Managers / Customer Supports
  8. Marketing / Business development
  9. Engineering
If someone told me that PM's highest priority is not creating the requirement and working with engineering, I would have had a little idea about what else will fill up PM's normal day.  In reality, most of PM's time is spent talking to customers or trying to find out customer's feedback on the product by talking to sales, sales engineers and support.

This means PM must create weekly schedule around customer meetings, sales, sales engineers and support.  It also means as PM everything that you do must add value to customer in one way or another.

No comments:

Post a Comment