Why Stakeholders mostly talk in Feature Requests

Stakeholders love Feature Requests

Almost every product manager knows the situation (if you don’t, please let me understand how you avoid it right from the beginning): Some of your stakeholders just always come up with very specific features (aka solutions and not problems) they want you to build into your product.
While some of them may have learned and agreed to the concept of building an MVP first and no stuffing the first product release with more functionality, they a least insist on storing them as they are in the product/feature/idea backlog (here’s why that’s not an approach to pursue).

That’s because they’re like users – They don’t know what they want. And talking about particular features is their way to remain involved in the product development process continuously.

The key for you as a Product Manager is to determine where the urge of some stakeholders to be a regular part of the day-to-day product development process originates. You have to reverse engineer your stakeholder’s feature requests back to ‘jobs‘ they want you to fulfill for them or your target user.
The most likely reason though is that they think hat the product output becomes proportionally better with their involvement.



Unfortunately, this misconception is the result of a lack of trust these stakeholders have that the delivered output by you and your development team matches their expectations.
Why that may seem like a very unfortunate situation, the best way to resolve this issue is to focus on alignment early on in the product discovery and the commitment to a particular outcome rather than feature idea.

A better way for stakeholders could be e.g. to drop in inspiring snapshots they’ve seen in other products with the apparent accompaniment that the way this product approached an individual problem may be helpful for your work.