Complaints, everyone has one…or five..or a million. After running product for nearly a year, I am quite familiar with people complaining. From bugs to feature requests, sitting central inside of the organization means we hear a lot of feedback from internal users, customers and prospects. Prior to this role, I, like most people, were quick to fire off a complaint when I found a problem. Satisfied that someone “heard” me, I would move on with my day until I found the next issue and would repeat the same process.
Lacking any formal terms, I’ve labeled this toxic feedback approach as “grenade lobbing”. Much like a grenade, complaints without any context or constructive feedback often blow up a product managers day or demoralize the team. Your simple message of “this is broke” is typically one of many and makes getting ahead difficult. If you are annoyed about the product, chances are the product manager might feel the same way, but because of any number of reasons (lack of resources, priorities, currently fixing, flooded with requests, upcoming releases, etc.), your complaint may not get addressed right away.
Instead of submitting complaints, consider sending feedback. Feedback might be an observed bug that outlines what you did to produce the issue along with what you expected to happen or potential ideas of what may have gone wrong. Feedback might be an expansion of an existing feature that you got a lot of value from and some ways you think it could be improved. Or feedback could just be praise about what you like about the product and how the team did a great job on a recent release.
Put simply, positive feedback goes a long way for a product manager. Next time you want to lob a grenade at your product team, consider spending the extra few minutes to construct some helpful feedback and consider slipping some praise into the request. Not only will this make your product manager’s day, it may help bump your request in the larger queue.