As a Product Manager how would you politely say NO to your stakeholders?

@JuanAllo, Yeah, this helps them understand that something else needs to go away if their request is accepted

There’s an underlying assumption here - that they understand the importance of all the other items on the list.

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While all the advice here seems to be great, it seems to follow the happy path where the stakeholder is understanding and will give up and care about your team’s other priorities.

But this is not always the case. Especially in sales led companies where they are more interested in the bonus rather than the success of the product. So, pressure on your team does not impact them at all and is always worth a try.

What do you do then?


@AhmadBashir, That’s a fair question.

I think the answer remains the same. Almost

I would still use the same approach- use dats, persuasion, influence.

If none of it works, I would also get other (more senior) product people to rally for me and help in closing the issue at hand.

In this :point_up:case, I’d first convince relevant and more influential leaders about my roadmap and get them to back me up. While this sounds a little theoretical and cliched, it has always worked for me.

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Very good list. It’s always helpful to understand where the requests are coming from. Sometimes it’s just that one annoying client that has a specific need, and the account manager is doing their best to keep the relationship intact. You have to empathize with that. Never skim on a conversation about a request. Many times, you’ll uncover the real need behind them and realize it’s not just that one customer with an issue, but there is something pivotal about your product that is missing and flew under the radar. Or maybe it is just that one person and then it is (usually) easy to put things in perspective so that the stakeholder understands why we are saying no (or not now).

If everything fails, then. “we’ll add it to the backlog”