"How Do I Improve My Storytelling Skills as a PM?"

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Oct 27, 2023

3 min read


"How Do I Improve My Storytelling Skills as a PM?"

Storytelling has been an integral part of human evolution. It has guided us and helped us understand what to hold onto. As a product manager, storytelling is a skill that can greatly enhance your ability to communicate and influence others. But how can you improve your storytelling skills as a PM? In this article, we will explore the importance of codifying the product discovery process and how it can help you become a better storyteller.

Product development consists of two main elements: Discovery and Delivery. Discovery is the process of figuring out what to build, while Delivery is about building and shipping the product. However, many companies lack a defined Discovery process, often skipping it and going straight to building the feature. This is because the focus is often on Delivery, with goals and performance evaluations centered around it. To improve storytelling skills, it is crucial to shift the mindset of the company towards emphasizing innovation and experimentation.

To codify the Discovery process, four pillars need to be established: Training, Templates, Touchpoints, and Targets. Training should focus on equipping product managers with the skills to conduct effective Discovery. This includes understanding problem identification, customer insights, and data analysis. Templates play a crucial role in ensuring consistency and guiding the Discovery process. Two additional templates that can be created are the Problem Brief and Problem Definition. These templates help product managers clarify the problem and set the foundation for finding solutions.

The Problem Brief template outlines the rough thinking around the problem and includes problem symptoms, business requirements, and the external landscape. This document helps determine if the problem is worth solving and what actions are needed to refine it. The Problem Definition template answers important questions such as what problem are we trying to solve, how do we know it's a problem, and why is it important to solve. This document sets the criteria for a good solution and includes constraints and considerations.

Incorporating touchpoints into the Discovery process is essential for reviewing insights and learnings. Regular check-ins and discussions with stakeholders and team members help ensure alignment and progress. The goal of these touchpoints is not to stifle product managers but to ensure that all product squads are working on the most important problem areas that align with the overall strategy.

Finally, codifying the Discovery process should be embedded into the expectations for product managers. This can be done through performance reviews, progression frameworks, and quarterly goals. By making Discovery a part of the evaluation and growth process, product managers are motivated to improve their skills and prioritize innovation.

In conclusion, improving storytelling skills as a PM requires codifying the product discovery process. By establishing training programs, utilizing templates, incorporating touchpoints, and making it a part of performance evaluations, product managers can enhance their ability to tell compelling stories. To further improve storytelling skills, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Practice active listening: Understand the needs and pain points of your customers and stakeholders by actively listening to their stories. This will help you craft narratives that resonate with your audience.
  • 2. Use data to support your story: Incorporate relevant data and customer insights into your storytelling to make it more compelling and persuasive. Data adds credibility and helps you make informed decisions.
  • 3. Tell stories with a purpose: Every story you tell as a product manager should have a clear objective. Whether it's to inspire action, drive change, or showcase the value of your product, ensure that your storytelling aligns with your goals.

By following these actionable advice and incorporating the principles of codifying product discovery, you can enhance your storytelling skills as a PM and become a more effective communicator and influencer. Remember, storytelling is not just about words; it's about creating a narrative that captures the hearts and minds of your audience.

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