#Prodmgmt Twitter Chat: Navigating Product Dev with Executives [Recap]

As the product management field continues to evolve and become a more common term, it still goes through the same turmoil as other departments, like managing teams, accomplishing tasks towards the greater business goals, and dealing with higher management. Creating value for target users is already a tremendous task on its own for product managers without the need of taking everyone’s order in prioritizing the backlog. Now what happens when an executive believes their idea is the best and must be included in the next sprint? To add more fuel to the fire dumpster, other executives and influencers at the company want their requests to be completed in the next sprint as they’re convinced their need is crucial.

To answer these tough questions, I hosted a Twitter chat with the #prodmgmt community to see their world and tactics they used to overcome situations. Here’s a recap of the conversation:

1) Are product decisions in your organization top down or bottom up?

Although it is rare to see product decisions made from the bottom, employee empowerment is discovered when the people involved in development get their voice heard. When employees are happy, better products are made as they’re made with love and care.

2) When an executive gives you an idea, how do you vet it?

The general consensus is to validate the idea through utilizing any technique available prior to the prototype phase. Data collection, user journey, product roadmap, and customer experience are just some ideas to verify the idea should move along the conveyor belt.

3) If a HiPPO wants to pursue an idea that goes against the data, how do you respond?

To begin, HiPPO is not hippopotamus (although some could be as they chill in the office doing nothing but opening their mouths); it stands for Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. I’m guessing the person who coined the term wanted it to be a bit more catchier than HPPO or person-wanting-everyone-to-listen-to-their-thoughts-and-screw-what-the-data-says. Anyways, two tactics that pop up is to create the prototype for poking holes and the other is explaining the opportunity cost.

4) How do you manage multiple HiPPOs feature request?

Everyone literally used a gif to express themselves, mainly to scream in sheer agony.

5) How do you obtain executive approval for new product initiatives?

TL;DR = become a salesperson.

6) When is executive involvement in #prodmgmt most successful?

The most success stems from tangible turnover where the effort inputted outweighs the return, like empowerment, transparency, strong operational process, and most importantly, vision.

That’s it for the first Twitter chat for #prodmgmt. Thanks to Hiba Ganta and everyone who participated in the pilot show! Tune in every Tuesday at 8pm Eastern Standard Time to discuss more about product management.