Stakeholder Requests

Stakeholder Requests

Stakeholders are representatives within the organization that have a vested interest in the success of a product.  They typically come from proximal executive ranks, or functional group’s whose KPIs are directly impacted such as sales or marketing. 

Stakeholders often have valuable insights and working with them to ensure an end-to-end business success is critical, but there are also land mines to watch out for because everyone has an idea about the product, and we cannot incorporate everything, or we risk building a ‘Frankenstein’ product.  As Product, our responsibility is first and foremost to the customer, but we also must navigate the requests of stakeholders and seek reasonable ways to incorporate and address their needs, where we can.

Why are Stakeholders Important?

It takes a lot of support and resources to build successful products and distribute them. Supportive stakeholders can play a vital role in this by quashing their concerns when it comes to different issues such as the workers, allocation of considerable budgets, wooing the right customers, and providing their approval when called upon to do so.

However, stakeholders may also make it difficult for the Product Manager to succeed if they are not supportive. If they do not provide the appropriate support, then the product is likely to fail. Additionally, the Product Manager may not grant every request from the stakeholders; otherwise, they will end up with a Frankenstein Product. In the process, politics may get out of control, making it hard to deliver excellent results.

These are the hard truths of the relationship between Product Managers and Stakeholders. It is therefore crucial for the PM to learn how to handle Stakeholders and within reason.

Classes of Stakeholders in the Product Development

The Executives

These are people whose titles start with a “C” or have an SVP or VP on their cards. They are folks who care deeply about where the product is going and aligns with the company’s goals and revenue predictions.

Sales and Marketing

These people are responsible for selling what you make. They, therefore, care a lot about what has been created and when it is created. Usually, they will be found at the forefront with prospects and customers.

The Operations and Support Staff

Once the products roll out, these are the people to receive customer complaints. They hear them first and respond to them accordingly.

Product Development

Product developers actually build the products, and they are stakeholders as well. They usually know the inside scoop and they understand the product’s strong and weak points. 

Tactics of Dealing with Stakeholders Painlessly

As a Product Manager, you should never be put in a corner by the stakeholders. Instead, it would help if you learned how to deal with them diplomatically. Here are a few tips that can help you do that;

Always Communicate With Them Early and, If Possible, In Private

It would be best to prepare frequent follow-through plans and updates to ensure that their input is valued and heard. The earlier you bring these things up to the stakeholders, the better it is for you, and there shall be less likelihood of working on them in a hurry due to strategic developments or constraints.

The check-ins should always be scheduled regularly, and they shouldn’t just happen when you have a question to ask. This, in turn, builds a relationship with the stakeholders and enables them to exchange information with you on what they expect.

Meeting with them individually instead of in a group setup makes them more comfortable and open to ideas rather than being involved in group politics.

Take time to really understand their requests.

Once a stakeholder presents you with their idea on specific functionality or feature of the product, you shouldn’t just jot it down on paper and throw it away in the Product Backlog. Still, it would help if you took the time to understand it clearly until you come up with a solution.

Always Ask for Context

In most cases, the stakeholders will not just come up with something in order to look cool. They usually form requests due to interactions with the customers, investors, competitors, and prospects. Therefore, you should press them for more information to understand who needs to know what they are asking.

Be Open

The stakeholders may not necessarily understand what happens during the product development, so they tend to have many questions. If, however, you do not prioritize them, they may become frustrated with you. Also, taking too long to answer them could bring in more issues, so it is always advisable to be open and give them a glimpse of what you are doing and how you are doing it. Once they have an idea of what is happening, they may be a less irritable bunch.

Make use of the Knowledge you acquire

As the Product Manager, you are the only person who is talking to all the different people in the company, and as such, you tend to acquire plenty of information concerning the product. In this case, listening to all of them gives you a unique perspective. Leverage this perspective and put it all together to develop a product that works and meets the user’s needs.


This Love-hate relationship between Stakeholders and Product Managers is purely natural. As a Product Manager, your job is to listen to everyone and then decide what is best for the product. Spend as much time as possible listening to their views, considering them, and validating them. Their perspective is invaluable to the process, regardless of any problems you may encounter working together. All the best.

Other Recent Articles

Start Building Amazing Products Today!

Create Beautiful Roadmaps - 14 Day Free Trial!

Collect insights. Score feature ideas. Create beautiful roadmaps. Share with your team.