August 10, 2017

Audit communication channels like a PROduct Manager

Let’s face it, no matter how hard you try not to miss anything, there’s always that one comment under a thread in a long-forgotten Slack channel that has a very important CTA yet everyone forgot all about it. It’s natural. We all have that “Oh I’m sure I’ll remember to go back to it. I’m certain!” and then we completely forget. It’s almost why the PM has to always go back to do his usual audit rounds. Check to make sure nothing, absolutely nothing, is falling between the cracks.

[RELATED]: The 5 stages of grief … over delayed product release

We just report things as they happen.. or as we remember them. That’s why many of our communication channels have the life-savior “remind me later” option. But even reminders can be snoozed.

The 5 audit (digging) steps:

  1. Audit channels: Go through Trello, open Slack channels, Jira, and every communication channel.
  2. Pull out Calls To Action (CTAs): Make sure that all the CTAs mentioned have corresponding cards.
  3. Label CTAs: Make sure that all cards/tickets have members, deadlines, labels, priority status, and a description if it’s a bit confusing.
  4. Audit meeting minutes: Go through minutes and make sure that CTAs mentioned there are being addressed to.
  5. Kill the “remind me later”s: Ask everyone to go back to their private channels and see if they have anything on hold.

Communication is all over the place. Some people are really good at making sure they say the right thing in the right channel. You know, very rare people. The rest of us, however, don’t have that much structure. Or rather control over our communication flow. That’s why the PM is usually the one who goes back to check.  But because of this messy communication, valuable information gets lost very easily. Sometimes, important CTAs (features to be added, details to be fixed, colors to be chosen, etc) don't reach the right person on time. This causes delays. At some point, no one knows the origin of the blocker. That is why the PM needs to go on full audit mode.After figuring out the problem, It's time to solve it. But problems go hand-in-hand with conflicts.