A sales rep comes to you and asks for a small product change to satisfy a prospective client.
Your manager wants to A/B test her latest idea.
Your friend in client services keeps asking for an updated FAQ even though nobody reads the one you do have.
One of your engineers is obsessed with a new API that Google just released.
A customer keeps complaining about missing functionality – how could you have possibly built the product without it.
What’s a product manageer to do?
You want to help everyone. You know that each one of them is just trying to do their job. Isn’t the customer always right? Shouldn’t you build what they ask for?
Here’s the problem. You can spend all day every day responding to these requests or you can build a well-defined product that solves a clearly defined problem.
You can rarely do both.
You still need to listen to the requests. You still need to help when you can. But you need to filter everything through the lens of what problem are you solving and how does this help you get there.
Also, the better job you do at communicating the problem you are solving the less often you’ll get requests that fall outside of this scope.
How do you handle requests that fall outside of the scope of what you are doing?
Omer Gartzman, Product manager @ Wix.com says
Sometimes, you need to give hope: “I will add it to the work plan, and consider it in the next quarter”, and sometimes you must be frank: “This feature is not going to happen, because 1 2 3”, and you should be a good person and not to burn any bridges on the way.
Teresa Torres says
I agree. You always need to first seek to understand the request. What’s the real need behind it? Can you address that need? If you can, great. If you can, but not right now, then yes, that’s where you can give some hope. But be careful. You can get yourself in trouble with saying you’ll get to it if you never get to ti. And yes, there will always be times where you just can’t do something. IN these cases, you need to take the time to explain to the person why it doesn’t fit in the plan AND help them find another way to solve their problem.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!