March 28, 2020

Please Speak Up

Let’s face it, providing feedback can be a tricky wicket. While we all have opinions on just about everything in the world around us, we tend to put a voice to very few of them. And, ironically, we tend to express most loudly the opinions that impact us the least.

Think about it:

  • When was the last time you vocally questioned a sports coach’s decision? Or criticized the inability of your favorite artist to live up to their quintessential albums?
  • When was the last time you gave your employer feedback about the quality of their healthcare offerings? Or let them know if the tools provided were sufficient to most effectively perform your job?

As a Product Manager, I often consider myself one of the “Great Consolidators of Information”; it’s my job to filter through all the data, business cases, and feedback to help determine the best path forward for the product. Often there are a lot of factors at play, but bringing additional benefit to our customers is the ultimate goal.

However, one of the limitations is that if I never get feedback about a feature or process, I’ll never know that it’s something that needs to be addressed.

So, I’ll ask of you: Please speak up…

Your feedback does matter, and it does play into the decisions being made. Some feedback will have visible results, while others won’t. However, that doesn’t mean that the latter was any less meaningful or valuable.

You might think that this is limited to customers, but interestingly, it isn’t.

In most organizations, there are also a number of internal “customers” of a software product; we Product Managers need to make sure support has the tools needed to assist with customer problems and that we are in tune with the market that our sales teams our encountering. However, many people in these groups are often used to the status quo, or see that a vision or initiative is in place, and go along with it. So instead of speaking up with insight they may have garnered in years on the job, or from previous roles, they fall silent. Yet, again, we Product Managers are working to do the best with the information we have at hand…and additional insight helps provide a clearer picture of what that looks like.

I understand that providing feedback isn’t always fun, fulfilling, or fruitful. However, know that in every organization, somebody is listening. And your feedback might just give them the insight they need to deliver you a better solution.

So, I’ll ask you one more time: Please speak up…

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