All related (6)
Mamuna Oyofo, MBA
VP of Product, ShopifyFebruary 9

I personally believe this to be communication. Often times, we as PMs dive heads down into a problem with understanding that we need to have a time with us to do the work. It is important to develop a communication style that resonates meaningfully with your audience. As a PM, you will need to communicate with:

1. Stakeholders

2. Peers

3. Direct reports

4. External partners 

Each of these groups will require their own set of nuance that you will need to determine based on the relationship you are working to develop OR need to maintain. Often times when you see friction in organization, it comes down to a miscommunication or lack of communication. It's better to set yourself up for success here. My recommendation:

1. List your who your audiences are

2. Capture their needs and the required cadence for communication. Understand the best mode to share communication, whether that is slack, in person or email. 

3. Kick off your process

4. Important step... ask for feedback frequently. You don't want to wait until something breaks to know something is wrong. Ask people if they are getting what they need from you until you feel satisfied you are meeting the mark. 

Clara Lee
VP, Product & Operations (WooCommerce), AutomatticJuly 26

Sharp communication skills that enable proactive stakeholder management. This doesn't just mean blasting memos and updates to everyone, everywhere – it means: 

  • Speaking about what matters to who; 
  • Understanding what is the right timing;
  • And knowing which channels are most effective for getting your point across. 

In some organizations, you may be lucky enough to have a Product Operations team to help you with that; in others, you won't.

Leaning into comms and stakeholder management means: 

  • Risks are assessed early;
  • Issues requiring help are unblocked;
  • Expectations are adjusted at the right time; 
  • And – most importantly – that your teams (from executive leadership to direct reports to cross-functional collaborators) know they can trust you.
Milena Krasteva
Sr Director II, Product Management, WalmartJune 8

I'd love to answer this in a slightly different way: The single most important skill, that cannot be rated highly enough is Communication. Many other soft skills are fundamentally still rooted in or are dependent on communication. 

Nuanced aspects of communication also matter:

  • adapting communication to the audience and situation
  • timing the communication
  • communication in all forms: written, verbal, non-verbal/body language.