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Importance of Narrative Writing in PM
by Amazon Principal PM
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IMPORTANCE OF
NARRATIVE WRITING
Sid Nabar
Principal Product Mgr, Alexa, Amazon
Hi! I’m Sid
What is Narrative
Writing
• Writing in full sentences and paragraphs
• Flows like a story but content is technical
• Good writing is –
✔ Clear in its purpose
✔ Precise
✔ Easy to read
✔ Tailored to its audience
✔ Objective
What is Narrative
Writing
•Q3 launch delay
•High latency
•NPS under target
We propose delaying our 31-Aug launch to 31-Sep.
There are two reasons for this: first, our P50 end-to-end
latency is X ms, Z% higher than our target of Y ms; and
second, our NPS score is X.x (vs target of Y.y) and z% of
customers cited high latency as their top dissatisfaction
reason.
Amazon writing style tips:
https://twitter.com/destraynor/status/1258372157706510336?lang=en
Benefits
•Easier to identify gaps or lack of detail
•Forces specificity and clarity of thinking
•Non-linear consumption
•Supports variable speed
•Scales beyond creator (no narration)
•The WHAT, the WHY and supporting
data are all in one place
Types of Writing
• Working backwards: Product definition
• Decision document
• Status review
• Roadmap proposal
• …
Why it’s important
Working Backwards
structure
•4 parts:
▪Press Release
▪Tenets/Guiding Principles
▪Customer FAQs
▪Internal FAQs
•Sample product: A global social
network where users can only post
positive news
Press Release
• Announce the launch of your product
• Key highlights for customers
• Highlights target customer personas
• How it makes their life better
• How do they access and use it?
• As specific as possible without being
implementation specific.
Press Release:
Why it’s important
• Is this worth building?
• What are the top, non-negotiable
aspects of the product?
• Are we building the right experience?
• Is this impactful or novel enough?
• Would customers use it this way?
• Is this a complete story?
Guiding Principles
•Help settle debates throughout the project
•Enable scaling/consistency of decisions
•Can change with time or based on learning
- Always maintain customer trust
- UI must be fast and snappy
- Maximize user engagement
- Focus on building best-in-class features
▪ Prioritize customer trust over monetization
▪ Choose performant UI over new functionality
▪ Prefer habitual engagement over new user
acquisition
▪ Focus first on user satisfaction then global
expansion
Customer FAQs
• Detailed customer experience:
• how to get started
• how to use the product
• available options
• Relation to existing products
• Is it free or paid?
• Be as specific as possible
• Use simple language
Customer FAQs:
Why they’re
important
• Is there too much friction?
• Would this make sense to customers?
• Are there too many paper cuts?
• Are we trading off magical UX for
technical ease?
• Is the distinction from similar products
clear enough?
Internal FAQs
•Why are we doing this?
•Product-Market fit
•What are the big debates/risks?
•What are the key investments needed?
•Feasibility
•Alternate approaches considered
Internal FAQs:
Why they’re
important
• Is this the right business model?
• What are the one way doors?
• Are there synergies with other projects?
• Is this the right technical approach?
• Is the plan missing important aspects?
• Are the costs + risks worth the reward?
Try it out!
• Pick a product you are working on
• Write a PR + FAQs
• Have someone else review it
• Tweet @SidharthNabar with
#writeadoc about your experience
Thank you!
My team is hiring! Apply at amazon.jobs
Reach out at www.linkedin.com/in/sidharthnabar
www.productschool.com
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Importance of Narrative Writing in PM by Amazon Principal PM

  • 1. www.productschool.com Importance of Narrative Writing in PM by Amazon Principal PM
  • 2. CERTIFICATES Your Product Management Certificate Path Product Leadership Certificate™ Full Stack Product Management Certificate™ Product Management Certificate™ 20 HOURS 40 HOURS 40 HOURS
  • 3. Corporate Training Level up your team’s Product Management skills
  • 4. Free Product Management Resources BOOKS EVENTS JOB PORTAL COMMUNITIES bit.ly/product_resources COURSES
  • 5. IMPORTANCE OF NARRATIVE WRITING Sid Nabar Principal Product Mgr, Alexa, Amazon
  • 7. What is Narrative Writing • Writing in full sentences and paragraphs • Flows like a story but content is technical • Good writing is – ✔ Clear in its purpose ✔ Precise ✔ Easy to read ✔ Tailored to its audience ✔ Objective
  • 8. What is Narrative Writing •Q3 launch delay •High latency •NPS under target We propose delaying our 31-Aug launch to 31-Sep. There are two reasons for this: first, our P50 end-to-end latency is X ms, Z% higher than our target of Y ms; and second, our NPS score is X.x (vs target of Y.y) and z% of customers cited high latency as their top dissatisfaction reason. Amazon writing style tips: https://twitter.com/destraynor/status/1258372157706510336?lang=en
  • 9. Benefits •Easier to identify gaps or lack of detail •Forces specificity and clarity of thinking •Non-linear consumption •Supports variable speed •Scales beyond creator (no narration) •The WHAT, the WHY and supporting data are all in one place
  • 10. Types of Writing • Working backwards: Product definition • Decision document • Status review • Roadmap proposal • …
  • 12. Working Backwards structure •4 parts: ▪Press Release ▪Tenets/Guiding Principles ▪Customer FAQs ▪Internal FAQs •Sample product: A global social network where users can only post positive news
  • 13. Press Release • Announce the launch of your product • Key highlights for customers • Highlights target customer personas • How it makes their life better • How do they access and use it? • As specific as possible without being implementation specific.
  • 14. Press Release: Why it’s important • Is this worth building? • What are the top, non-negotiable aspects of the product? • Are we building the right experience? • Is this impactful or novel enough? • Would customers use it this way? • Is this a complete story?
  • 15. Guiding Principles •Help settle debates throughout the project •Enable scaling/consistency of decisions •Can change with time or based on learning - Always maintain customer trust - UI must be fast and snappy - Maximize user engagement - Focus on building best-in-class features ▪ Prioritize customer trust over monetization ▪ Choose performant UI over new functionality ▪ Prefer habitual engagement over new user acquisition ▪ Focus first on user satisfaction then global expansion
  • 16. Customer FAQs • Detailed customer experience: • how to get started • how to use the product • available options • Relation to existing products • Is it free or paid? • Be as specific as possible • Use simple language
  • 17. Customer FAQs: Why they’re important • Is there too much friction? • Would this make sense to customers? • Are there too many paper cuts? • Are we trading off magical UX for technical ease? • Is the distinction from similar products clear enough?
  • 18. Internal FAQs •Why are we doing this? •Product-Market fit •What are the big debates/risks? •What are the key investments needed? •Feasibility •Alternate approaches considered
  • 19. Internal FAQs: Why they’re important • Is this the right business model? • What are the one way doors? • Are there synergies with other projects? • Is this the right technical approach? • Is the plan missing important aspects? • Are the costs + risks worth the reward?
  • 20. Try it out! • Pick a product you are working on • Write a PR + FAQs • Have someone else review it • Tweet @SidharthNabar with #writeadoc about your experience
  • 21. Thank you! My team is hiring! Apply at amazon.jobs Reach out at www.linkedin.com/in/sidharthnabar
  • 22. www.productschool.com Part-time Product Management Training Courses and Corporate Training