How can product teams best manage stakeholders?

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


The very first Webinar we did for the INMA Product Initiative was titled: Who gets to prioritise the product road map? 

I don’t know any product and tech teams that move as quickly as they want in a structurally sound way, no matter how big the team is. There are always more things we want to do (I have a long list of things I’d love to have budget/resource for, too).

So if we take it as a given that you can never get everything done, which stakeholders are the ones to decide what gets done? 

A recent conversation brought me back to this question for two reasons. One was a discussion about a gap between OKRs and the actual road map. 

The second was that this product group left 30%-40% of the road map open at each sprint for business stakeholders to weigh in. I love this concept but haven’t heard much more than 20% being left open.

That’s more than other organisations I have spoken to but enables more agility and control by the business based on needs. The team that decides is made up of key stakeholders who have to decide together. 

And now we circle back to that original question: Who gets to prioritise the product road map? Which can also be read as: How can we best manage stakeholders? 

As this question doesn’t go away, I pulled up a few resources where we have discussed this below. The TL;DR is that product needs to do so with clear input from stakeholders. This is probably best laid out by Jason Jedlinski, former managing director of The Hill, with this presentation on Designing Roadmaps to delight customers and respect stakeholders.  

Jason Jedlinski shows how to use storytelling to help build a road map that resonates with stakeholders.
Jason Jedlinski shows how to use storytelling to help build a road map that resonates with stakeholders.

Kara Chiles, senior vice president of consumer products at Gannett, enhances this with Communicating Product Value (and some great comments recently on our Slack channel here). 

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About Jodie Hopperton

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