How do you manage when you disagree with executive direction?

I’m working on developing a new service that will provide value for consumers. We’ve launched a pilot internally and we’re planning the next release for early next year to extend the pilot to a small group of external consumers.

However, even though we’re focusing on consumers first, my LOB mostly cares about businesses as that’s where we get our money, and this service for consumers will be creating a new audience platform that will allow businesses to advertise to the consumers using it.

While I know this, I strongly feel that we need to focus on consumer first, make sure we have the adoption and retention that we need and understand how they feel about the core value of the service before starting to add the components that will allow businesses to advertise to the users.

The executives have decided to include ad stuff as part of the first release to the external audience (our MVP). I think this is the biggest mistake ever, I’ve voiced my opinion numerous times but it doesn’t matter, we’re going ahead with it anyway.

This is the first product I ever launch (I’m a relatively new PM) and my name is tied to this and I feel sick that we’re going forward with something I strongly disagree with. I feel the only question we should be asking is “does this add value to consumers” and if the answer is no, it shouldn’t be part of the first release.

How do you handle this? I feel like my hands are tied.

Couple things

  1. As you said above, you’re a relatively new PM, maybe you’re right & maybe you’re not, but either way probably best to listen and learn after your initial pushback was disregarded
  2. also, I recognize you’re probably just being hyperbolic, but saying “including ads in an MVP is the biggest mistake ever” makes you sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. maybe it is a huge mistake, but probably best for you to take it down a notch
  3. on ^, try asking more questions and making fewer statements - rather than say “we shouldn’t do x” try asking “I don’t understand why we would do X instead of Y, can you explain it to me”
  4. Disagree and Commit
  5. It’s one of Amazon’s core principles, a lot of people who are a lot smarter than I am have written stuff on it, I recommend checking that out
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Agree with both parts of this. I’ll also add that 1 of the 4 big risks for any new product is business viability. If it’s an ad supported product, and the rest of your business is already at scale, I can’t see how having data on the business viability of it isn’t useful.

Disagree and Commit

Not just Amazon. Any functional company has that. Respect the chain of command, never show internal dissent to customers etc etc. If you can’t do that, walk away from the employer

Thank you! This is really good feedback. You’re right, I’m much more factual and not emotional when I stated my opinion. I will try the question strategy, that’s a good one. And perhaps I’m not right, but I do feel we need to be careful and test before we start adding things to the scope.

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