The Hartford Business Journal, published right here in my very own Nutmeg State, ran a piece the other day that constituted another timely reminder of Immutable Communication Rules 1 through 6.

The piece was called, “Seven Secrets to Project Management Success“. And while its common sensibility shines through every word, this sentence, in particular, represents the heart of the matter:

Product management is most useful to an organization before projects get to engineering.

Savor that for a moment.

Among many other things, it reminds us that there are just two fundamental questions to be answered by any product (or service) and the marketing communications employed to promote that product (or service). Bearing in mind that a third question — Why? — has already been answered — Need — or there wouldn’t be a product (or a service) in the first place, here they are:

  1. What? Rather then telling the target audience about a specific location within a global system of interconnected computer networks that use TCP/IP to link a network of networks with electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies, product management will tell the target audience, “The Buick website.”
  2. How? Rather then telling the target audience how binary digits 1 and 0 get translated into a visual medium via capacitor x and pixel y, product management will tell the members of the target audience that, to see the paint it wants on its new car, “Click blue.”

After that, product management can send engineering down into its bunker with these explicit instructions: “Develop a website for Buick that enables shoppers to build and order their cars online with the colors and features they want. Don’t attempt to communicate in anything other than programming languages, hand signals, and arcane jokes. (Oh, boy.) Don’t come up without authorization from Security. And if you cross paths with any normal people, call Translation Services.”

Adopting this approach will spare your company a host of headaches: You’ll never have products in search of needs or markets. You’ll never have solutions in search of problems. You’ll always have clear marketing messages. And you’ll rarely incur overtime for Security or Translation Services.

Thank you, Hartford Business Journal.

Image by geralt, courtesy of