How do you handle contradictory signals between user feedback and the product vision?

As the head of product management in a mid-sized company, I am grappling with a dilemma. Our company’s product vision, based on strategic goals, is primarily focused on cross-selling and revenue-generating features. However, user feedback indicates a shift towards improving the user experience. I am considering whether to maintain our current product vision, which is effective but not delivering high NPS, or adapt our product to meet user demands.
I am seeking insights from other product managers here who have faced similar situations and their outcomes.


In our line of work, this is a continual source of intentional conflict. The company must constantly strike a balance between usability, client dollar retention, and revenue growth.

There is no right or wrong response; you must always be cognizant of these three factors. In light of that, I’ve listed a few options for you to consider, but there are undoubtedly many more.

  1. Create an engineering-ready paper-cut UX design backlog and include an anticipated number of hours for completion. While there is downtime in between larger tasks, have the team pick them up.
  2. When developing new products, consider including usability enhancements into project deliverables at the places where they connect with existing products.
  3. Incorporate a week of UX sprints and dependability every quarter. Then, deal with both tech debt and UXR.

This approach will ensure that user experience improvements are continuously prioritized and integrated into the development process. Additionally, allocating dedicated time for UX sprints and addressing both technical debt and user experience research will help maintain a high level of product quality and user satisfaction.


Handling contradictory signals between user feedback and the product vision is a common challenge in product development. It requires a balanced and strategic approach to make informed decisions that align with the long-term goals of the product while addressing immediate user needs. Here are steps to handle this situation effectively:

  1. Understand the Feedback: Start by thoroughly understanding the user feedback. What are the specific issues or concerns raised by users? Are these concerns isolated incidents, or do they represent a larger user base? Categorize the feedback to identify common themes and pain points.

  2. Revisit the Product Vision: Revisit the product vision and long-term goals. Understand what the product’s core value proposition is and what problem it aims to solve. This will provide a framework for evaluating the feedback.

  3. Prioritize Feedback: Prioritize the user feedback based on various factors, such as the impact on users, alignment with the product vision, and feasibility. Not all feedback is equal, and some issues may be more critical than others.

  4. Gather Data: Use data and analytics to supplement user feedback. Look at user behavior, conversion rates, and engagement metrics to see if the feedback aligns with the data. This can provide more context and help prioritize.

  5. Engage with Users: Engage in a dialogue with users to better understand their needs and concerns. Sometimes, users may not fully understand the product vision, and this communication can provide clarity.

  6. A/B Testing: If possible, conduct A/B testing to see how different changes based on the feedback impact user behavior. This allows for data-driven decision-making and helps mitigate risks.

  7. Iterate and Experiment: It’s possible to find a middle ground or creative solutions that address both user feedback and the product vision. Experiment with small changes and iterative updates to test whether they improve the user experience while still staying true to the product vision.

  8. Communicate Internally: Clearly communicate the situation and the proposed solutions to your team. Ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the trade-offs and decisions being made.

  9. User Education: If the feedback is based on a misunderstanding of the product’s intent, consider providing educational resources or onboarding to help users better understand how to use the product.

  10. Long-term vs. Short-term: Recognize that sometimes short-term user satisfaction may come at the expense of long-term vision. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and make decisions that align with the strategic goals of the product.

  11. Iterative Approach: Product development is an iterative process. You can make incremental changes over time. It’s possible to address some user feedback now and revisit other aspects later.

  12. Feedback Loops: Establish feedback loops to continuously monitor user sentiment and the impact of changes on the product. This ensures you can adapt and pivot as necessary.

  13. User Empathy: Always maintain empathy for your users. Even if you can’t implement a particular change, acknowledge their concerns and communicate why certain decisions were made.

In short, balancing user feedback and the product vision requires a strategic and empathetic approach. It’s about finding the right compromises and making decisions that benefit both the short-term user experience and the long-term product goals. Keep the lines of communication open, stay data-driven, and be prepared to iterate as needed.


I was employed by a SaaS company that was at the forefront of its industry and had all the publicity. While conducting a study for them, I discovered enhancements that were considered essential from the perspective of the client, mostly since a rival was able to fulfill that requirement, and they concerned fundamental organizational procedures. The suggested enhancements were abandoned and are probably currently accumulating, akin to sediment at the ocean’s bottom, in the backlog. I’m relieved that you are giving this some thought beforehand.

You can accomplish anything you want if there is no competition, but I don’t know many people who are in that situation. In order to identify the largest churn risks, I was lucky enough to be able to connect customer success and the product organization. To be honest, I would first find out what customer success or support is hearing before determining whether or not to take action. Customers may perceive that a product is staying current by making numerous little adjustments to its core experience, but these enhancements must at the very least address a fundamental need. Paint jobs and brand makeovers are meaningless to consumers.

You can pitch your vision all day long, but if the businesses or people purchasing your goods aren’t getting value out of it, all you’re accomplishing is making room for someone else to walk. At least that’s what happened at that company, as their primary customer experience started to deteriorate and they gradually lost market share to a rival. They’ve lost their top spot.


Find high-value, low-cost UX victories that don’t influence strategy using your research and sprinkle them in. Your clients will notice if you make even one little correction every quarter. These high-value, low-cost UX victories can be achieved by identifying and addressing common pain points or usability issues in your product or website. Conducting user testing and gathering feedback from your target audience can help you uncover these areas for improvement. By making small but impactful changes based on your research findings, you can enhance the overall user experience without significantly impacting your strategic direction. Remember, even minor adjustments made regularly can accumulate into noticeable improvements over time, demonstrating your commitment to delivering a seamless user experience.

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It depends greatly on how well your efforts to increase profitability are going. Keep it if it’s functioning. To continue investing in their products and in themselves, companies require money. If your company fails, you cannot have a fantastic user experience. Additionally, a strong financial foundation allows companies to attract and retain top talent, as well as invest in research and development for innovative solutions. Without sufficient funds, it becomes challenging to stay competitive in the market and meet customer expectations. Therefore, prioritizing profitability is crucial for the long-term success and growth of any business.