Writing for PMs is like vaccines for humans

Ankit Dhingra
2 min readNov 6, 2021

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A few weeks back, I invited aspiring PMs for 1:1 mentorship program to help guide them transition to product management. Few folks reached out to me via DMs, and about 1/3rd of them wrote ‘Hello’, ‘Can you refer me?’, and ‘Can we talk over a call?’, or a naive copy-pasted template.

From those who made some effort, I shared a google form with them to get to know them better. A 5-question form which asks about them, their aspirations and their reasons to enter this beautiful field. ~50% of people in this bucket didn’t make the effort irrespective of having a conversation on LinkedIn.

Crux is — people don’t write either because they’re lazy to make an effort or don’t realise the value of writing.

This was just an anecdote, but there could be several examples that we see on our jobs where the culture of sharing a pre read or creating memos is not followed.

A few very critical points why its important for PMs to invest time in writing:

  • It gives clarity: the more you write, the more you introspect your own words and understand the fault in your thoughts.
  • A second chance: what goes out when you speak is irreversible but writing something before sending it out allows you a 2nd chance to review
  • Shows effort and intent: it ensures the reader that you’ve put effort into getting your thoughts across. Psychologically, they’d want to be friendly and return the favour by reading & responding.
  • Collaboration: meetings don’t always allow the time to think and prepare for someone else’s questions; writing does. You can share it with 10–50–100 people, but it is impossible to collaborate at scale without efficient writing.
  • Influence: write structurally; create a story around it. It may not guarantee 100% success but increases the chances of engaging your audience.
  • Saves time later: if we plan to work in a org, stay and grow, it is possible what you build may come back and bite you later; In this case, the bite may not be avoided but having something to fall and rely on does help a long way.

In general, I think everyone should write more, specially PMs. Think of it — we make 10s of decisions a day, both macro and micro. Writing more would make it easier for us and people around us to make decisions, align, have clarity, collaborate better, and at times avoid meetings 😉

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Ankit Dhingra

Like building products • PM at Booking • When I’m not working — I write, travel, wander and try to read more