When we talk about prioritizing a roadmap, one thing that may happen is we end up saying yes to every request, from everyone. That is, everything is important because everything is added to the roadmap, and then the less important things are postponed. The person who requested has the confidence that “it’s in the roadmap”, although it was pushed up front on the line, and has good chances of being pushed even further if some more important item comes up.
The product manager ends up saying “yes” to all the requests he/she gets for several reasons:
In spite of all the reasons we saw here, it’s quite common to see product managers ending up saying yes to each and every feature request. In order to avoid that, a product manager has to learn how to say NO.
Saying NO seems difficult, but not if you have your product goals very clear. Knowing which company goals your product must reach, who is your main client and what is the problem of this client you are trying to solve, you’ll have the necessary arguments to say NO to certain demands.
Be kind to the person who is bringing the demand and say something like:
Your suggestion is interesting and I can see why you are giving them. However, let me show you what we have already planned in our roadmap, and which are the goals of each item in it. For this reason, we will not be able to pay due attention to your request right now. Remind me in the future so we can talk about this again, ok?
Pass on the responsibility for remembering the conversation again in the future for the person who is requesting the new feature. If he/she does not remember, it is because his/her request was not that important. If he/she remembers, evaluate the request again and, if necessary, say NO again.
Do you work with digital products? Do you want to know more about how to manage a digital product to increase its chances of success? Check out my book Product Management: How to increase the chances of success of your digital product, based on my almost 30 years of experience in creating and managing digital products.