When Saying ‘No’ Adds Value

You may have heard this everywhere, but, here it goes again, you will need to have the ability to say “no” to anyone, your customer, your team member, and even your CEO.

Not all features have a place on the roadmap, and not everyone has the right data or information to decide when to include something, when to reduce something and when to leave it out altogether.

This is why we need product managers.

saying no adds value

Saying no adds value when…

You have data that looks good, but it’s not productive

Just because the numbers show that the added feature increased engagement and more users were interested, and would share it with their mom, sister, cousin neighbor, etc., doesn’t mean it fits well within the scope of the product.

Here’s where you tie in qualitative data and review the big picture.

Ask yourself, “Does it fit well within the entire scope of the product?” “Will it be a useful feature that our customers will gain value from?”

Consider as many angles as possible before adding it to the roadmap.

You know the difference between real value and perceived value

As a product manager, you’ll hear a lot of different opinions on features.

Your customers have one idea, your designers have another, and your engineers have another. Everyone thinks they know what the product needs.

Your designers might be pushing for maximum budget for the UX. Your customers are crying out for something which would be very expensive to launch, while testing shows that it doesn’t improve retention at all.

It’s the PMs job to listen to all of these voices carefully, and weigh up which add real value, and which to say no to. In this case, saying no will save you valuable time, money, and resources.

You can learn more about this topic from Gibson Biddle, former VP of Product at Netflix who gave a talk at ProductCon Seattle:

The feature looks like it could be added in just ‘5 minutes’

Nothing ever takes as little time as we hope, especially in product management. There are usually some small road bumps or intricate details to be developed along the way.

Additionally, just because something seems like a quick addition, doesn’t mean you need to include it.

Does it add value? Does it increase the usability of your product? Does it fit well with your user base and will it last?

Before giving the green light, it’s important to take these ideas into account.

Your CEO wants to include because he saw it on a competitor’s product

It’s important to be open to ideas from those within the company, including your CEO.

But unless they have all the facts, have been to the brainstorming sessions and understand the data in order to make these types of calls, it’s still your job the direct the product.

Don’t be afraid to say “no, that won’t work for our product.” Stay on track and do what’s best for your customers and users.

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