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As Product Management leaders, enhancement requests come at us from all directions. But are all requests equal?  And do customer requests supersede what is already on the roadmap? As your products become more mature and more complex, prioritization becomes more critical. Several coalescing experiences over the past week reminded me the answer isn’t always easy.

One thing is for sure, we are never at a shortage of ideas or requests for our products or solutions.  Sometimes they come to us by way of friends, engineering, executives, partners, etc. and we are able to take the time to evaluate them in due process. Having a good tool for prioritization is an important aspect of how we should go about evaluating their value.

But just because they are good ideas, does that mean they should be pursued? Does the good idea fit? Is it consistent with your distinctive competence? Will it further the vision for your product/solution and enable market leadership? Or are they distractions, noise, rabbit trails that will cause you to deviate from your original purpose or goals?

Of course sometimes, because of an upset customer, they come in the form of demands rather than requests.  It may be a result of being oversold, or misrepresented, or being genuinely misunderstood.  But the net result is same … chaos ensues because now you have to revisit what has already been prioritized, and the team is forced to change their focus.

These situations happen to every company, but you can’t allow that kind of chaos to be perpetuated.  It needs to be the exception, not the rule.  This video is quite old now, but the points made are still very poignant and relevant.

I love the quote towards the end of the video … “focus is about saying no … and the result of that focus is going to be some really great products where the total is much greater than the sum of the parts.”

 Don’t sacrifice your strategy, your plan for the good when the focus could be on the great!