The Art of Saying No

Jul 2015 31 minutes

As product managers we practice the art of saying no every day. As much as product is about building and shipping great products, invariably in order to launch some things we have to not launch others. And that’s a big part of the job, but it’s never fun and can take it’s toll.

In this awesome talk, Mina Radhakrishnan talks about how to move away from simply saying no.

For product managers, prioritization is the main reason we say no. If resources were infinite we could do it all, but the reality is that we never can – whether you’re a startup or a giant enterprise. But prioritization is necessary and good and articulating priorities forces us to prove value and ask ourselves the tough questions so we have answers for others.

If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both. – Russian proverb

Prioritization needs to take into consideration four things:

  • Goals
  • Success metrics
  • Timeframes
  • Potential solutions.

Knowing why it matters and how you’re going to measure success makes the prioritisation align much better to company goals.

In the talk Mina shares some great examples of how to follow this process, breaking it down between small feature requests and large strategic decisions and outlining a number of great alternatives to just saying no.

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