Hacker Career Advice
How to Suggest New Product Features
Let’s say you have a new product idea that will solve millions of problems and save jillions of dollars. That’s awesome! But, before you start coding, you need to get buy-in from your Product team and other stakeholders:
- When it comes to Product, everything is prioritized, including your time. So, any deviation from the plan has to be considered carefully. Your roadmap owner, usually someone with “Product” in their title, needs to weigh the impact of a new feature with the cost of building it. Keep that in mind when you talk to your Product Manager.
- Start with goals, problems, and metrics—not solutions. Most people mistakenly suggest solutions without identifying the goal or underlying problem being addressed. Instead of saying “Let’s make this bigger” or “Let’s build an API,” use data to highlight the problem you’re addressing: “Our company goal is to increase daily active users, and users are dropping off largely on day 7.” or “Our goal is to drive revenue, and I see users have to click on each item to view its price.”
- Don’t sell the tech. Most Product Managers will avoid specifying exact implementation details (React here, GraphQL there). They’re concerned with requirements and satisfying customer needs. Save the tech sales pitch for your fellow engineers once it’s time to implement.
- Be open to compromise and let go of your ego. The final product may not resemble your initial idea at all, but as long as it addresses the issue that inspired you, it’s a win.
That’s it! Making strong business cases and looking for product improvements demonstrates critical thinking and is a important stepping stone toward a more senior role.
© 2018 Neal Shyam