Product managers face many challenges in their daily responsibilities. These responsibilities include coordinating with managing the people involved in the production process, from design to manufacturing to distribution. It also includes submitting reports to company executives. We like to think of the product manager as the quarterback of the company because they keep the play going and make strategic decisions that can help win the game (aka the market).
That being said, most product managers tackle their responsibilities with subpar tools. Too many inadequate tools mean product managers spend a significant amount of their time tracking down the information they need to make informed decisions to share with appropriate collaborators. Many companies still require their product managers to juggle spreadsheets, word documents, people management apps, and product roadmap software for product portfolio analysis.
As a consequence of spending a significant amount of time juggling these tools, the area where most product managers fall behind is effective communication. Here are five of the most common communication mistakes product managers make and how the right software can provide the solutions.
Communication Mistake #1: Irregular Check-Ins With Departments
Consistency is the best way to achieve any goal. World-class athletes, professional musicians, and CEOs of the biggest companies know this. The product managers who consistently deliver products aligned to their company goals know this too. Frequently, product managers fail to hold regular meetings with product stakeholders, leaving key departments out of the loop to potentially waste time and resources on their own priorities instead of the priorities aligned to the company goals.
Solution: Streamline Communication With the Right Tools
We understand that communication with all stakeholders can feel challenging. Depending on the size of your company, you may have multiple stakeholders spread around the globe, which requires extra coordination to keep communication flowing. Half the struggle is not having the right tools to facilitate meaningful communication opportunities.
With product roadmap software such as Gocious, it’s easy to maintain communication with all departments by using shared documents, reporting, and data conveniently accessible on the cloud wherever you can connect to the internet. Simply schedule your team meetings consistently, give the right people access to the appropriate reports, and encourage collaboration in between.
Communication Mistake #2: Confusing Meetings
Recall the last product meeting you organized and think about whether everyone in the room understood the information you presented. Did you focus heavily on engineering and product design terms that maybe your sales team didn’t understand? Was there a heavy focus on financial projects that confused your design team?
It can feel daunting to hold cross-functional meetings with stakeholders across departments, but those types of meetings are extremely valuable for informing the product roadmap. It’s not that your strategy is wrong. You just don’t have the right tools to help you make the most out of everyone in the room.
Solution: Organize Better Cross-Functional Meetings
PRM software, such as Gocious, gives you the tools you need to make cross-functional meetings effective. For starters, you don’t need to print dozens of spreadsheets to highlight progress in each department. Our software allows you to customize your presentation to include the data you need to make your points. And when everyone in the room has access to one single source of truth, they’ll already be more informed and in line with the bigger company vision before they sit down at the virtual or physical meeting table.
Communication Mistake #3: Failing to Listen to Market Research
As the product manager, we know you’re busy. You’re managing multiple roadmaps, coordinating several departments, meeting with executives, and juggling too many reports. You’d love to sit down with customers and beta testers to get their feedback, but it’s just not feasible. This is why your company has market research and customer success teams. However, just because your company has those departments, it doesn’t mean they are automatically involved in strategic meetings or have a venue to share their valuable insights. Often companies make the mistake of neglecting to listen to their own market research.
Solution: Sit Down With Sales Department and Customer Success Teams
The first step to ensuring that the voice of the customer is heard throughout the roadmap is to include your market research and customer success teams in cross-functional meetings. When you combine your qualitative and quantitative data, you’ll better align the product to the customer’s values to build better brands and, in turn, brand loyalty.
Communication Mistake #4: Making Gut Decisions
Market research can be invaluable when deciding what features to introduce, maintain, or drop in your products. Yet when making these decisions, product managers who don’t have ready access to market data and metrics will subconsciously rely more on their gut than the metrics. For many companies, it’s not that they don’t have a Customer Success Team or market research to use. It’s a matter of not being able to access the information easily.
Solution: Use One Source of Truth for All Data and Metrics
We know that many product manufacturers still use multiple programs and spreadsheets to manage their data, which can be confusing to organize and analyze. Using PRM software such as Gocious keeps all your data in one central location, creating a source of truth for everyone in the company to access, analyze, and use to inform decision-making.
Communication Mistake #5: Prioritizing the Wrong Things
There is a lot to monitor and analyze as a product manager. Your attention will always be pulled in a dozen different directions, between multiple product lines, shifting market trends, and numerous dependencies between features. This is why knowing your strategic product vision and having organized roadmaps are vital to meeting business goals. Without knowing what to prioritize, product managers will fall short on time and information.
Solution: Use High-Level Roadmaps to Monitor Your Entire Portfolio
With Gocious, you can clearly monitor all your product lines with high-level dashboards featuring clear visuals that reveal the most important data at your fingertips. Features such as the Financial Roadmap and High Level Roadmaps help you spot gaps and opportunities between products in your portfolio. When you have confidence in your analysis of your roadmap, you’re able to prioritize better.
Roadmap Tools that Increase Transparency
Gocious product roadmap management software provides you with the roadmap tools you need to effectively collaborate with your stakeholders, increase transparency at all decision levels, and prioritize action that aligns with your company’s strategic goals. You can do all this within an incredibly user-friendly and visually sleek system everyone on your team can navigate. Book your demo to see how Gocious help you manage your roadmaps seamlessly.