If you’re a product manager, the rest of this article is written specifically for you. Let’s look at the above Neilsen Norman usability principles through the lens of stakeholder management. By applying these five principles to stakeholder management, you will become a more empathetic product manager. Also, I firmly believe you will see increased success throughout your product development process and ultimately, your product itself.
The measure of ease for a stakeholder to learn your product management process.
If you’re a product manager, ask yourself: How easy is it for your stakeholders to get inside your head and understand how you lead the product development process and how you bring a product to market? Do you easily and clearly explain decision making frameworks? Prioritization? Do you help your stakeholders understand the team’s development process (research, sprint cadence, planning, retrospective, lessons learned, etc)? Do you explain why does your product team uses personas and how you choose the ones you use? Do you explain how ideas land on a backlog, what is meant by acceptance criteria, why you conduct research? How do you translate the data from raw data to insight? Do you deliver content intuitively, in emails, roadmaps, presentations?
People learn in different ways, through different means. Your mix of stakeholders will involve people who learn by seeing, listening and doing. Understanding this and tailoring your communication to ensure that it supports all learners can lead to higher levels of learnability. For example, people need to visually understand activity over time (roadmap), why choices are made (tradeoff analyses, analytics, data, etc.), methodology behind choices (sprint planning, sprint retrospectives, lessons learned). Involve your stakeholders and teach them throughout your process as a way to lead them and bring them along continuously in the journey.