Product managers need to look for users to provide feedback about their product to ensure they are solving the pain points and delivering the key features a user needs to be successful with the product. With that being said, you are not always able to get customer feedback about your product and in addition to customer feedback, other drivers for your product exist such as competitor analysis, market conditions and internal strategic objectives.
Product managers need to hear from all sources and balance all of the factors in front of them to define a product roadmap which includes features that deliver the most impactful release for their business. To do this, a product manager needs to hear from their product team and each department as each group has a different outlook on what is needed to be successful and a great product manager listens to all sides to ensure they are covered from all angles.
Here are reasons you should be listening to your team feedback when building out your product roadmap.
Support Team: No one is better positioned in your organization to fill in for user feedback more than your support team. They are your eyes and ears of what your customers need to be successful in your product. What pain points they are experiencing, the complaints they are communicating and where your users are getting tripped up in your product. Your support team deals with your users problems so listen to them so you know what you need to solve in your tool to have a happier customer base.
Sales Team: All products have a primary driver which is to grow the business. In order to do that, you need to sell the product. Again,when focused on sales, no one in your organization knows better the deal breaker features better than your sales team. Learn what is the problems with your on boarding process. What feature are you missing in your product that you are loosing leads to? Listen to your sales team product feedback to ensure you are capturing backlog items to drive your business growth.
Marketing Team: Your competition is always working on their products and while as a product manager you should be tracking that, your marketing team is keeping an ear to the ground as well. Listen to their feedback on trends within your competitors or industry news in general. Your brand is your business so make sure your brand, style and voice is consistent across your product which is something your marketing team is keeping an eye on for you.
Engineering Team: All products come with technical weight that your engineering team is aware of and as a product manager you need to ensure you are tracking in your product roadmap. Technical weight exists as all products age, they need to be updated and kept current behind the scenes. This work, while it will not always add new users or business growth, can cause havoc if you don’t do it so ensure you are building on a strong foundation and track backlog items your engineering team needs to ensure the product is in a healthy place.
This is just an example of a few departments that may existing your organization and the key to product managers is to understand that each department has a different business driver and a different view of your product needs. As a product manager, the more you are open to listening to your team as well as your customers will provide you a richer product feature backlog to pull from and ensure you are promoting the best features for your business to your product roadmap.