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What Language Do You Speak?

As Product Managers, we need to ensure we're building great products to satisfy a user need or solve a problem. For this, we need to understand our users and stakeholders, make sense of data, understand tech and business implications, communicate and translate information across different teams. We need to speak the ‘right language’ in order to be successful PMs. But what does it mean? On one hand, through working on global products and platforms, as part of multicultural teams, I learned I was at an advantage for being multilingual. I was able to understand our users and align with them, be the voice of our users towards my teams and stakeholders, and ensure our products were of quality across different regions. On the other hand, as PMs, we’re the connectors between different people and roles: users, designers, senior management, engineers, data scientists and they each communicate differently.
My talk covers contexts in which PMs need to speak different languages, with practical examples, spiced with a few 'no-nos' and suggestions on how to adapt our language depending on the groups we’re interacting with. We’ll understand what 'speaking the right language' means for a PM and that it can be a 'make or break' our products.

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What Language Do You Speak?

  1. 1. What language do you speak? How using the right language helps you build great products
  2. 2. Mihaela Draghici Product Manager @ SDC:LX Volkswagen Digital Solutions
  3. 3. How to build great products by using the right language to: 1 Build stronger connections and relationships 2 Better understand your users and serve their needs 3 ‘Translate’ information for different stakeholder groups
  4. 4. Build stronger connections and relationships
  5. 5. ‘I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.’
  6. 6. Show that you care
  7. 7. “Ça va?” “Ça va. Ça va?” “Ça va, ça va.”
  8. 8. Understand what people want to say
  9. 9. When English is not their native language. Was just made aware that this value is supposed to be missing. For the contract, we can not confirm this.
  10. 10. When English is not their native language. This value should be missing but we cannot confirm it should be missing for the contract.
  11. 11. When English is not their native language. It was reported that this value is missing for the contract, but we know that it is actually present.
  12. 12. When English is not their native language, and they don’t know the right word to use. Uhmmm...Errmm… How do you say ‘remboursement’ in English?
  13. 13. When English is their native language.
  14. 14. Understand your users and serve their needs
  15. 15. Do user research in native language
  16. 16. Have localized interfaces
  17. 17. Roll out regionally in English only Poor localization > bad UX and poor user feedback Have localized interfaces
  18. 18. Provide a good user experience Show your users that you care Avoid misunderstandings Avoid legal issues Have localized interfaces
  19. 19. Unexpected error Make content understandable and intuitive for users Erreur fortuite Erreur imprévue
  20. 20. We’re sorry but [Insert product here] does not support this browser. Make content understandable and intuitive for users Nous sommes désolés, mais [notre application] ne prend pas en charge ce navigateur.
  21. 21. English en_GB en_US en_CA Use the right local language German de_DE de_AT de_BE de_CH Portuguese pt_PT pt_BR French fr_FR fr_BE fr_CH fr_CA
  22. 22. Adapt your terminology to local market context Commission Number Kommissionsnummer Número de encomenda Număr de referință
  23. 23. Make sure special characters are readable
  24. 24. ‘Translate’ information for different stakeholder groups
  25. 25. Translating tech jargon into business talk “The X service returns a 500 error to our GET request with ‘NULL’ in the response body. We’re working with their team to identify the issue.”
  26. 26. Translating tech jargon into business talk “The X service returns a 500 error to our GET request with ‘NULL’ in the response body. We’re working with their team to identify the issue.” “We cannot access the price quotes from the provider and are currently working with them to identify the problem. We will let you know as soon as we have more information.”
  27. 27. Translating tech jargon into business talk What are the new accepted enums for ‘transaction.status’. We need to update our API and Swagger so Team X know what to send in their request.. Could you help me identify what the possible statuses for a transaction are?
  28. 28. Translate business requirements for the data team We want to know the adoption rate of our new Campaign Manager in the APAC and EMEA regions in the last quarter compared to previous quarter. Can we please have a report on how many campaigns have been created via our Campaign Manager (feature id: 49494) in the following countries (list country IDs) in the timeframe: 01/05/2020 - 30/09/2020. The report should include: Client ID Client Name Client Country Campaign ID Grouped by: Client Country
  29. 29. Communicate reports to senior management 40% increase YOY 34new clients Brazil 30% | UK 45% | France 60% | India 58% For more details, check the report.
  30. 30. Conclusions & recap Using the right language can help you build great products: You create closer and stronger relationships with your stakeholders. You better understand your users and build products suited to their needs, which they can actually use. You communicate effectively across different disciplines and levels of expertise.
  31. 31. Thank you! Mihaela Draghici

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