Can Non-Product People Generate Great Product Ideas?

In many companies, people think that it’s a product manager’s direct duty to somehow generate new product ideas on their own. Without someone’s assistance.

The secret of successful products is that effective teams and companies work together.

However, team collaboration is usually a responsibility of product managers, who have no idea what to do with zero context ideas.

This topic was clearly described in the article, posted on Prodpad blog. I’ve selected the most interesting ideas from the post:

People who work with you don’t realize how many of those ideas pile up in your product backlog. They do not realize how much time it takes to go through your backlog.

However, PMs can incentivize their colleagues to send them better ideas by making it easy for them to submit ideas to the product backlog and by acknowledging them in a timely manner.

Ask for business cases

Anyone who submits a new idea (as it is in ProdPad) has to think about why they’re doing it. There are two questions that give you some mmuch-neededcontext:

What problem are you trying to solve?

What value would it provide to the business or users if it were solved?

It will get your colleagues to think a little more like you do and will keep useless one-liners out of your backlog.

Ask for comments

Voting is good. It’s a low-touch way to get your people involved in the product process. However, votes don’t tell you much.

The real value lies in the comments because some of your team members are more invested in or closer to an issue than others. This is their opportunity to flag up concerns you haven’t thought about and open up the floor to new angles you need to consider.

When you hold a team vote, insist on a short summary of the reasoning behind their vote.

Provide feedback

Add a quick note that will let your team know that you are paying attention and that their thoughts do matter.

Be sure to leave a quick comment to the creator, as you’re sorting your backlog and either moving an idea forward. Remember that people thrive on positive reinforcement. A little acknowledgment will win you more of the insights you’re after.

Let people help in writing product specs

The best way to bridge the gap between teams is to have them help you develop product specs.

It will help to collaborate and assist you in the ideation process. When the idea is completed, you can then push the idea to development.

After all, what keeps many of your team members away from your product management process is that they don’t know what you do and what you need from them.

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