Who, What, Why – The Product language

Product management is an art. It’s inception in the best way. It requires you to “play”, so to speak, with Business people, Developers and Managers in order to get the best results.

To make it work, a Product manager needs the right tools. Some people refer to Product Managers as the translator between business and tech and vice versa – I would like to challenge this idea and say that we are creating a new language – the User Language, or when translated into English, it’s known as the..User Language (yes, it’s Universal).

User stories are one of the best tools to explain to everyone what you want and it’s pretty easy. All it requires is for you to state Who you are, What you want to do and (really important) Why you want this to happen.

Let’s put this in context – “As a Product manager, I want to write a blog in order to share my product ideas and insights”, wow that sounds just like me! What are the chances.

Lets  break down this story further- Who – The first thing you want to explain is who you are – so the reader, whoever they may be, will understand the context theyare reading. What – What do you want, what needs to happen?, what is the main problem you are solving with this feature? Why – If you want something done, explain the reason for it, what drives you to do it? Is it to make money? If so, explain – a developer will work much harder on features which he understands the impact of on the business that this will bring. And the business owner will understand what needs to be done in order to reach these business goals.

Product people solve problems, ‘User stories’ is our language to explain how we solve them. With any problem, there are bigger and smaller parts, so make sure to start with an “EPIC” – the main story you want to share. The EPIC  is what drives all the other stories below it. Consider this blog’s EPIC story; “As a Product manager, I want to write a blog in order to share my product ideas and insights” now, Let’s approved with stakeholders (I approved). After that start to think about other stakeholders and write their stories (example):

  • “As a blog reader, I want to read a blog about product management in order to learn more about what and how product managers work.” – that sounds like you!

Now we need to break this down to operational tasks. It’s easier when you know what needs to happen:

    • Tasks:
      • Get a domain.
      • Choose a blogging platform.
      • Think about interesting topics.
      • Set aside time to write it down.

User stories can get even more complicated.. speaking as a machine, explaining though specs how to solve simple business objects..but more on that in the future.

Next time you begin to tell the story of your product- Tell a User Story. Not only will it make everything easier but it will also make the next steps much more clear.


One comment

  1. Craig J Willis · January 20, 2015

    I love the “User Language” and agree completely but this can be used way beyond products. We’ve taken it one step further, you might want to check out our Skore app https://www.getskore.com. We use the same construct as the user story but make it visual and turn individual user stories into flows. This way you can really tell the story of the product in a visual way at the same time. We allow you to break ‘stories’ down into more detailed stories, and more detailed stories if you need to. There’s no need to make a distinction between an Epic and a Story as in reality there aren’t two levels of story, there are many levels depending on the size of the product or feature you are defining. The important point is to be able to accurately communicate that to your different audiences.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s