View all the Divine Rules of Product Management here.
Law #2: On dealing with customers who can’t understand you don’t develop custom software just for them.
If a customer presents a detailed list of features, demands they be developed immediately, and then tries to extract firm commitments with specific dates for each feature, the Product Manager shall adroitly step around the trap as follows.
The Product Manager shall assure the customer s/he understands the issues by paraphrasing them back and sympathizing with the customer’s frustrations.
The Product Manager shall, in front of the customer, write the details of each issue, for posterity, inside a high-class notebook with gold gilded page edges.
The Product Manager shall frequently say phrases like:
- I can see why that’s important to you
- We’ll see what we can do
- I wish we had the resources to work on all these great ideas… which two are most important to you?
The Product Manager shall not definitively promise a feature will be developed nor its delivery date, unless the feature is already done, tested, and due for release within the next 2 weeks.
The Product Manager shall also take copious notes of the entire conversation and circulate these notes to the Product Manager’s boss and the customer’s account team, highlighting that NO PROMISES were made.
If thou does this according to THE SOFTWARE LORD’s wishes, the customer will calm down and perhaps take a less adversarial approach in the future. Even better, the Product Manager won’t get fired in 6 months for allegedly promising the customer something that can’t be delivered.
Have the Software Gods been speaking to you as well? Have any additional Divine Rules for Product Managers you wish to share? Share them in this post comments. The Cranky Product Manager will feature the best Divine Rules as posts on this blog, with appropriate link-backs to the destination of your choosing….
Also in Divine Rules of Product Management
- Divine Rules for Product Managers #1: Prepping for Engineering Meetings
- Divine Rules for Product Managers #2: On Dealing With Unreasonable Customer Demands
- Divine Rules for Product Managers #3: On Helping the Press with Product Reviews