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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Product Managers, beware of fabulous ideas

Believe it or not, ‘fabulous ideas’ are the most scary part of a product managers life. I am talking about instances wherein  someone from some corner of the  office, raise hand and shout out ‘hey! I have a fabulous idea’ – this not only means that you listen to my already certified ‘fabulous’ idea but also do include this in the ongoing or worst case next sprint. Product managers are expected to listen and agree to such ‘fabulous’ ideas, after all its their duty to collect requirements and put them on the roadmap!! – but where is the filtering part? Listening is fine, collection is ok but adding is last step. All ideas, suggestions, improvements & corrections must go through a proper review cycle, and should be evaluated before they even qualify to be termed as ‘idea’. Before filtration process they are merely some thoughts which may or may not make a good product sense.

Ideas driven by individuals understanding of their functional role and not of product as whole are like half cooked cake, they may look good but for sure are missing some important ingredients. Unsolicited ideas are tricky to handle and a product owner should ask for precise use case / scenarios to back such ideas. Ask proposer to help you align his ‘fabulous’ idea with the overall product strategy before it can be consider for review. If the ideas fits into the product strategy and can be consider as good product feature (good product feature?), go for it.

It’s good to work with smart people having ideas for product, however like any other human, a product manager has limited capacity to absorb. Beware of your limits and avoid falling prey to listening all and agreeing to all like a good boy. 


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