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Say No + Keep Stakeholders Happy - workshop handout


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Practice techniques to gracefully decline requests for product features in this interactive workshop.
Make your day-to-day life as a PM easier by preventing escalations and removing a common source of stress.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Say No + Keep Stakeholders Happy - workshop handout

  1. 1. Say No + Keep Stakeholders Happy ©OpenSky Consulting and Coach LLC 2016 David Galvin  We can do anything, but we can’t do everything.  Product Management prioritizes unmet needs with the highest business value.  It’s (often) not what you say, but how you say it. Best Practices examples Agree, Validate, say “Yes” Be on their side (not necessarily to the request itself) “Yes, I understand what you are asking.” “Yes, I see why this is important to you.” “I agree this problem is costing us money.” Be curious, ask lots of questions, check your understanding “Tell me more, can you expand on that?” “You seem really passionate about this. Help me understand why this is so important” Maintain Rapport Choose body language, relative positioning, tone of voice, volume, pace, mental self-talk. Be warm. Find things in common. Set expectations & boundaries “I have only 10 minutes right now.” Explain process, if applicable. Make them part of the decision Guide them to a shared understanding at a higher level (sometime they will retract their request or deprioritize it themselves) Explain bigger context, strategic direction, framework for decision-making Ask rhetorical questions “I wonder how our VP would prioritize these?” “which would have the bigger customer impact” “Given it would cost $50K to fix, I wonder if it is really worth it” Defer if appropriate (of course, you must follow-through) “Can you send me an email with the details?” “Let’s check the level of effort with Engineering” “we can consider it in the future” Put the decision in context, Make them feel you are on their side “I’ll do my best to slot this in after we finish X, Y & Z” “Given everything on our plate, we just won’t be able to fit this in” Be Charming when a firm No is required Practice your delivery & tone of voice “Sorry, we just don’t have time right now” They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.