How to keep users and stakeholders happy?

Dr Bart Jaworski
3 min readFeb 6, 2024

It’s frustrating, that as a Product Manager, I often have to first and foremost deal with leadership and stakeholder expectations, and not user needs. Here are 8 ways to find some balance:

1) Quantify the feedback
As a data-driven Product Manager, you need to put a metric on user feedback and rating whether it’s user rating, NPS, or proportion of good positive to negative comments: Up to you! Just choose a sensible metric and make sure it goes up :)

2) Streamline your user feedback
Feedback will come from different sources, which include the sales department, customer support, mobile app store ratings, and more. Make sure they all land in a single system or someone is there to consolidate the feedback into a single report, refreshed periodically.

3) Highlight the learnings
Be the users’ advocate! Use the sprint and roadmap reviews to highlight the core user feedback and learnings. After all, it’s your job to know what users need, not stakeholders’. However, they should also be aware of their perspective, thanks to you!

4) Find common ground between users and stakeholders
“Killing two birds” with one stone will work out great here! If you can find stakeholder requests that will also cover confirmed user needs, that makes you a superstar Product Manager!

5) Leave room for innovation
A fake quote from Henry Ford states: “If I did what users asked, I’d breed faster horses”. Therefore, if you only stick to addressing user feedback and abandon any brave, risky updates that could shake up the product and market, you risk eventually becoming obsolete (Like horses mostly are ;) ).

6) Invest in pre and post-launch discovery
Feedback from users will likely come from those rather unhappy. If you invest time in Product Discovery, you can learn user sentiments before you invest in any development! Also, if you perform post-release discovery, you have more chances of understanding what went well and learning from the happy clients.

7) Highlight user success stories
If you listen to your users and help them achieve something huge, brag about it! To your stakeholders…

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Dr Bart Jaworski

I am a senior Product Manager at Microsoft. My online courses have helped thousands to develop their Product Management careers. I would like to help you too!