It can be easy to get caught up in the role of a Product Owner: gathering feature requests from stakeholders (internal and external), prioritizing them in your team’s backlog, and working with your development team to make them a reality.
Don’t get me wrong, these are all critical responsibilities of a good Product Manager. And critical components of Strategy, because Strategy without Execution is just dreaming.
However, we need to be asking the following questions of the feature requests we receive:
- How does the feature change the user’s perception of the product?
- How does the feature change the buyer’s perception of the product?
- Does the feature align with the product’s strategic direction?
- Does the feature allow us to improve the product’s strategic direction?
- Is the effort required to implement this feature less than or equal to the errort required for similar features?
If the answer to two or more of those questions is “No”, then it’s probably worth considering if the feature request should not just be de-prioritized, but removed altogether. After all, if we spend all our time on no-benefit or low-benefit features, then it’s the equivalent of treading water.
Without a doubt, the ability to prioritize is critical for Product Managers. However, we also need to be asking ourselves “Does this help take us in the direction we need to go?”