What are information flows in product management?


Definition of Information Flows

Information flows are defined as the coordination of exchange of information with each other. It is a three-dimensional process including information access, information exchange & information documentation.

The Relevance Of Information Flows In Product Management

In an organization, each department focuses on its activities, priorities, and internal goals, which might result in less frequent communication. Meetings are often scheduled at the start & once or twice during the product development process. So, naturally, time & productivity can be lost by a breakdown in communication across several departments developing a single product or service.

Due to a lack of communication, teams are often oblivious of the critical mistakes of other teams or accomplishments. The data accumulated over time can only be advantageous if each team gets as many data points as possible. At the same time, accumulated small mistakes have the potential to derail the project from its objective.

A proper information flow is recommended to help teams sync with one another while ensuring that the product’s vision is not distorted. Prominent examples of information flow management include Cloud-based collaboration platforms such as Slack, Notion, and Trello.

How To Create Information Flows

Stage 1: Choose the correct stakeholders for the product development.

The product managers must determine which stakeholders to invite to the strategy meeting. The product manager should analyze all the product dimensions before finalizing the stakeholders based on the product’s requirements. The product manager should also keep in mind not to invite too many people as it might clutter the objective.

Stage 2: Create an appropriate presentation for your product plan

The second stage for information flow is creating a product roadmap; it helps keep the product presentation aligned with the product plan. Product managers should use the roadmap to elaborate on the rationale behind the project, priorities & timeline. Product managers should keep in mind to build a purpose-driven roadmap for the stakeholders since it allows us to navigate through perspectives & degrees of detail quickly.

Stage 3: Share strategic information

It would help if you had gathered all the critical stakeholders & conducted a strategic evaluation of the product. Now, each stakeholder must be able to return to their respective teams with critical insights that they can leverage. For example, The company’s chief marketer should return to their marketing & PR specialists with insights into the product, and you can use this insight to develop critical marketing messages.

Benefits Of Information Flow Management

As mentioned above, product development might become detached in a short amount of time if the communication is less frequent. Teams work in silos, leading to groups being oblivious of how the project is progressing & how other teams are doing. They might also lose a sense of how the project is linked across different organizational departments.

For example, developers, designers, and marketers might be working on the same project product, but they might lose a sense of what everyone is doing & how far they have progressed. The product managers can navigate the obstacles if they keep proper track of the product development process. Having an established information flow can increase the teams’ productivity, as they can keep track of their progress & meanwhile it saves a lot of time for them. High-level discussions can save time instead of a room full of people trying to catch up.

How To Improve Information Flow Management

First & foremost, it is crucial that the correct information is communicated & it is shared across all the teams. Ideally, the information flow should be quick & unimpeded from the source to the end-user. To further minimize the barriers, it is necessary to do a root cause analysis of the product. Organizations should choose information flow management based on their requirements rather than following what has worked out for other organizations.

Every product requirement is different & hence it is vital that the information flow suits the needs & wants of the particular product. Include KPIs other than Quality, Delivery, and Economy to assess the progress.

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